n International Journal for Religious Freedom - The role of government and judicial action in defining religious freedom : a Sri Lankan perspective : academic articles

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2070-5484



This study examines the role of government policy, judicial action and politics in the context of the fundamental right of religious freedom and religious persecution with emphasis on the experience of Sri Lanka. In 2004 the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) National Heritage Party, the first Buddhist political party, sought to amend the constitution of Sri Lanka, making Buddhism the state religion. There were also three attempts to introduce anti-conversion laws, both by the government and this party. While there is no legal requirement for registration of religious bodies, there are tendencies to harass churches on the basis that they are not registered. Three court rulings denying registration to Christian bodies effectively closed the door to incorporation of Christian ministries. There are arbitrary moves to restrict legitimacy of Christian religious institutions by state machinery.

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