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​Religious freedom: US commends Sirisena’s govt

1 May 2015 08:01 am - 19     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today commended the President Maithripala Sirisena led government for taking steps to improve religious unity and religious freedom.

“Since President Sirisena took office in January, he has taken several steps to improve religious unity and religious freedom. For example, he created three new ministries to handle religious affairs for the Muslim, Christian, and Hindu communities respectively,” it said. 

“Additionally, the new Ministry of Christian Affairs appointed a special coordinator for Charismatic, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches. The special police unit created by the former government has been disbanded, according to officials and religious communities with whom USCIRF met in March 2015.”

In its 2015 Annual Report released today, the USCIRF said, ‘…most importantly, reports of abuses against religious minorities have diminished in the first months of 2015, though concerns remain.”

This year's report documents religious freedom violations in 33 countries, makes country-specific recommendations, and assesses the U.S. government's implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).

The U.S. federal government advisory body recommended that Sri Lanka although does not meet Tier 1 (CPC) or Tier 2 thresholds, should still be a focus of concern.

A USCIRF delegation visited Sri Lanka in March 2015 to assess the climate for religious freedom, other human rights.

“President Sirisena's public statements on the need for national unity, reconciliation, harmony, and improved religious freedom have been encouraging, as were the comments by government officials with whom USCIRF met in March 2015.”

USCIRF recommended that the U.S. government should strongly encourage the positive movement that has occurred in recent months and encourage the Sri Lankan government to allow a transparent and independent investigation into alleged war crimes, including targeted attacks on religious minorities.

The Commission also recommended the U.S. government to ensure that a portion of U.S. humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka is used to help protect minorities from religiously-motivated violence.

It recommended assisting the Sri Lankan government to train local government officials, police officers, and judges on international religious freedom standards and on how to investigate and prosecute violent attacks.

The Commission urged the Sri Lankan government officials to provide minority students an equal opportunity to learn their faiths in public schools and to rescind policies and practices - often driven at local levels - that restrict religious communities' ability to build houses of worship or practice their faith.



FULL REPORT

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  Comments - 19

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  • sakabona Friday, 01 May 2015 02:40 PM

    Where were you when things were burning last year this time via DM Android App

    Gamarala Saturday, 02 May 2015 10:01 AM

    Religion is a fairy story used to control the plebs, its brain washing, thats all it is. People these days have far more open minds and can turn to good hard science for the answers to most questions. The more sophisticated a nation becomes the less likely the peple are going to belive in medieval teachings.Not believing in gods does not equate to believing in nothing. Athiests belive in many things, tolerance, morality, being kind, helping the needy, treating everyone equally, ethical behaviour etc. They dont believe in magic men in the sky who make universes and expect everyone to worship them.

    Raja Saturday, 02 May 2015 06:49 AM

    Unlike Western nations, Sri Lanka not only practiced religious freedom, but gave practical support and facilitated the practice of all religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam etc by recognizing the important days of these religions and declaring them as public holidays as well as funding the reconstruction of those damaged in the Tsunami. For centuries people of different religions coexisted in Sri Lanka and it is not a rare sight to see a Buddhist temple, Hindu kovil, a Christian church and a Muslim mosque down the same street. Mr Kerry should make a note of this fact and learn from Sri Lanka to practice what he is preaching on religious freedom.

    Sam Saturday, 02 May 2015 03:34 AM

    It surprise USA people talk about religious freedom in other countries. In USA , if Muslim man talk about anything he surely end up in Guntanamo Bay. He can not ask anything at any airport. If so , he will surround by military service immediately. What a joke of preaching nonsense by Anericans over the world. I am US citizen.

    Tavisha Udupihille Friday, 01 May 2015 11:34 PM

    What about the freedom not to have a religion? This right does not seem to exist. Religion is a compulsory in schools. The police refuse to accept the fact that one does not have a religion, neither do hospital admission desks

    asfar Friday, 01 May 2015 08:33 PM

    Mahinda and his thugs unleashed violence on muslims to win sinhala votes and failed miserably since majority singalese are peace lovers.

    aja Friday, 01 May 2015 05:01 PM

    Stop killing African Americans and look after yr country without poking you finger to our affairs.

    Sadun Friday, 01 May 2015 04:21 PM

    Irrespective of any report, SL as a society is a better place today than what it was prior to 08 Jan!

    Nimal Friday, 01 May 2015 04:20 PM

    When US authorities curtail the religious freedom for their own citizens by forcing them to accept pro-choice stance and not pro-life and prohibiting the Bible in Government institutions and public schools, it is highly ridiculous to see how they talk about religious freedom in other countries. Physician, heal thyself first!

    Mailmen Friday, 01 May 2015 03:16 PM

    What ever US says I believe tbere us religous freedom in SL for which MS has to be commended. This is what true peace is about. via DM Android App

    Citizen Friday, 01 May 2015 01:36 PM

    It is quite a surprise that a special coordinator had been appointed to the Christian affairs ministry for evangelical groups. This is news. It is quite clear what several deputy ministers in this government especially EW and the famous beauty queen are up to. What is more surprising is the silence of Champika Ranawaka and Ven. Ratana who were at the forefront of the anti conversion movement at one time, when these things are now happening under their very noses.

    Hiran Gunawardena Friday, 01 May 2015 02:19 PM

    Please carry on your puppet dance to western tune via DM Android App

    Ryan Friday, 01 May 2015 02:07 PM

    What ever said and done America is 95% Christian while Sri Lanka has all major religions with no major religion based violence. USA should stop preaching and learn from us. Our government should have a backbone to point out this simple truth too.

    Happymuslim Friday, 01 May 2015 02:06 PM

    We thank Maithripala and the Prime Minister Ranil for this. We respect our buddhist brothers but extremists like BBS burned down our shops ,attacked us and even spread disgusting lies like we are trying to reduce the Sinhalese. I wish their would true respect and peace between us

    Chandra Friday, 01 May 2015 02:03 PM

    This the difference of west towards countries in third world. Three ministries were there from previous regimes too. But those governments are not pro US lead countries. If government is obeying to their words those are good. via DM Android App

    Dev Friday, 01 May 2015 02:04 PM

    Ah right, more ministries means religious freedom. Pathetic how USA is commending every other action of the government they like so much.

    budd Friday, 01 May 2015 01:53 PM

    So who cares? We the educated people of Sri Lanka does not measure people by their religion but by their intelligence and skill

    Buwa Friday, 01 May 2015 01:48 PM

    Yes and the entire report is against Buddhism... and praising Yahapalanaya...ha..ha...haaa...ohoma yan...

    TrueSriLankan Friday, 01 May 2015 01:48 PM

    It is true that violence agianst Christians and Muslims have stopped and the people that used twisted flags are facing justice but Racism is on the rise in the US while it is going down in SL


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