Religious liberty organizations united under the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) have released a statement on the church in Sri Lanka, calling for official recognition of Sri Lanka's evangelical community as represented by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL). The World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC) which is a member of the RLP fully endorses this statement referred to as the 'Colombo Statement on the Church in Sri Lanka'
"This statement is significant as it is an expression of concern by the global Christian community on issues of rights, justice and equality of all citizens of Sri Lanka," states Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission. "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 are able to live in an environment that is conducive to the fullest and unhindered enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms" he adds.
WEA RLC strongly endorses the call of the RLP to officially recognize the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), a group which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and is part of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), a group representing 600 million evangelicals worldwide.
"After 30 years of internal unrest in Sri Lanka we believe the country now needs to address the very important issue of religious freedom," states Mervyn Thomas, Chairman of the RLC and CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK. "We are concerned about the forced closure of churches by local authorities and violent attacks on clergy and churches," he says. "We are calling on Christians everywhere to pray that the Sri Lankan government will move to stop these unacceptable actions and bring in measures to guarantee real religious freedom for all."
According to the statement, the Religious Liberty Partnership commits "to work toward the full realization of religious rights of all Sri Lankans," and "to stand in solidarity with the evangelical Christian community as they seek to have equal rights alongside other religious constituencies in Sri Lanka."
WEA RLC joins the call for the worldwide church to pray that the government of Sri Lanka and others concerned will effect changes that promote freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief in Sri Lanka.
Executive Director, Religious Liberty Commission
World Evangelical Alliance
To view the Colombo Statement on the Church in Sri Lanka, click here.