JHU 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.

"We 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.

"The 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.

It 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.

The 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.

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