bill misunderstood by Church groups: IBC
Responding to the statements issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference
and the National Christian Council on the JHU's anti conversion
bill, the International Buddhist Centre representing six Buddhist
organisations says the church groups have misunderstood the draft
of the JHU bill.
regret to note that the authors of these statements have completely
misdirected themselves on the objectives of the draft. The draft
basically targets for punishment those who place fetters on the
religious freedom of others but do not restrict the rightful freedom
of those who practice or adopt a religion of their free choice",
the IBC said in its counter statement.
Catholic Bishops and the Christian Council in their wisdom declare
that these drafts contravene accepted and prevailing international
conventions and norms. On the contrary the provisions of the drafts
seek to uphold the relevant provisions in international conventions",
the statement further adds.
notes that Article 18(2) of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights reads that "No one shall be subjected
to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a
religion or belief of his choice". The statement also brings
attention to the fact that in the Sri Lankan constitution provision
can be found in Article 15(7) which subjects the freedom to manifest
ones religion enshrined in Article 14(1) (e) and other Articles,
to such restriction as may be prescribed by law in the interest
of national security, public order and the protection of public
health or morality or for the purpose of securing the due recognition
and the respect for the rights and freedom of others.
statement by the Buddhist Associations also point out that there
was no parallel between Christian missionaries in Sri Lanka engaging
in improper conversions and the Buddhist missionaries abroad.