Christian Leaders Critical of Preposed Law Restricting Religious Conversions

June 29, 2004

Source: ABC Radio Australia

On June 29, 2004 ABC Radio Australia reported, "Christian leaders in Sri Lanka say plans by the government to introduce a new law restricting religious conversions will violate personal freedoms and oppress minority religions. Sri Lanka's government says it wants to prevent churches from offering people inducements, such as money or employment, to change religion. Our correspondent in Sri Lanka, Gina Wilkinson, says a draft of the government bill includes fines of up $US1,000 and five years jail. Even stiffer penalties have been proposed by Buddhist monk MPs. But Catholic bishops in Sri Lanka and the National Christian Council say the new laws would contravene basic human rights and hurt Sri Lanka's international image. Christian leaders admit some small evangelical sects have been carrying out unethical conversions but they fear the planned law could prevent mainstream Christians from freely practicing their religion."