Evangelicals in Sri Lanka Make Call for Religious Freedom

A number of religious liberty organizations are calling for Sri Lanka to officially recognize the country's evangelical community.

Evangelicals in Sri Lanka are represented by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. The organization is a member of the World Evangelical Alliance and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

The Religious Liberty Partnership has issued a statement calling upon the Sri Lankan government to guarantee religious equality for all faith communities.

"Protection of religious freedom is essential if Sri Lanka is to move forward as a nation," said Release International U.K. Director Colin King.

"The country's long civil war may be over but it is Christians – and particularly evangelicals – who continue to face persecution today.

"There have been attacks against Christians, but as well as physical violence there is also legal opposition and restrictions with the authorities refusing to recognize non-traditional churches.

"We urge Christians worldwide to pray for an end to these practices in Sri Lanka so that there may be true religious liberty for all."

The Colombo Statement also appeals to the worldwide Church to pray "against the continued violent attacks on clergy and places of Christian worship," and that "all religious communities will enjoy the Constitutional guarantees on religious freedom."

The statement affirms the commitment of the member organizations of the Religious Liberty Partnership to working towards religious equality in Sri Lanka.

Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission, said: "As a nation emerging from civil war and progressing towards peace, stability, good governance and economic development, Sri Lanka stands at an important juncture in her history and it is essential that all communities are treated equally and able to live in an environment that is conducive to the fullest and unhindered enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms."

Yogarajah, who leads the Sri Lankan Evangelical Alliance, added that the statement was designed to ignite action. He said, "We pray that this united global voice will encourage the government of Sri Lanka and others concerned to effect changes that will promote freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief in Sri Lanka."

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