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The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka is asking that Christians around the world pray and lobby on their behalf concerning a Private Member's Bill proposed by Omalpe Sobitha Thero of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) in 2004. The proposed "Prohibition of Forcible Conversions Bill" passed its 2nd Reading in Parliament and is being considered by a Standing Committee of parliamentarians.

On the 23rd of May 2006, a three member delegation from NCEASL made oral and written submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee which is considering this Bill, objecting to the entire Bill. The Bill will next be taken up for voting in Parliament, where it can be passed and made law with a simple majority (majority of one vote).

The NCEASL has also learned that there are attempts to introduce other alternate legislation which will also regulate propagation and religious conversions. As it is, with no such law in place, there is widespread harassment and intimidation of Christians, forced closure of Churches and physical attacks on Christian citizens. Such a law will only serve to legitimize rampant harassment of minority Christians and violation of the right to religion and worship.

In August 2004, NCEASL and 21 other petitioners including Christian, Hindu and civil rights groups challenged this Bill before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court determined that two clauses of the Bill were unconstitutional. The Bill that is being considered by Parliament has been amended, deleting the two offending clauses. However, the vague definitions and the excessive punishments still remain.

With the country preoccupied by the threat of a renewed civil war, pray that this legislation will not be allowed to slip in. Pray for the work of the NCEASL as they seek to uphold the rights of Christians in Sri Lanka. The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians from around the world to write to their foreign affairs ministers, urging them to pressure the Sri Lankan government not to pass legislation that would restrict the rights of Sri Lankans to practice and change their religion.

Click here for more information and links on the threats facing Sri Lankan Christians. A 14-minute excerpt of VOMC’s extensive video report “Faith Under Fire: Sri Lanka” may be viewed on www.vomcanada.com. You can also order the complete report online.