Sri Lanka state officials support violence against Christians -report
After Verité Research's analysis of the 972 cases of discrimination and violence gathered by the National Christian Evangelical Association of Sri Lanka, the think tank said the attacks against Christians continued even though the government leaders were different. It was also worth noting that local officials were implementing measures against churches despite the absence of a legal basis for this move, Economy Next noted.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment reportedly implemented a circular that required "new places of worship" to be registered. Verité also noted that officials used this circular to shut down 39 existing churches even though the ministry was not authorized to regulate places of worship.
According to NCEASL, since January 2015, there were 190 recorded incidents of religiously motivated violence that targeted Christians and their churches. From 1994 to 2014, in as many as 175 incidents, a state institution or a state official was recorded as the main perpetrator of such attacks.
"The figure suggests that, for the past two decades, on average, an attack has taken place against a Christian person or group every week. This trend has continued despite repeated government changes during this period," Verité remarked.
It added: "Although the incidence of physical violence is lower than in previous years, threats, intimidation and 'administrative restrictions have been used to target religious minorities."
Meanwhile, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka is concerned over the sentiment of some parties when it comes to the attacks against Christians and their places of worship. The council accused the past and present governments of Sri Lanka of failing to address the "violence, intimidation and threats" that Christians have been facing even though they have already relayed these issues to the authorities, the Daily Mirror reported.
The NCCSL is now calling for the unbiased enforcement of law so that the problems of religious minorities in Sri Lanka can be properly addressed.