Sri Lanka: Minister under fire for attack on Sri Lankan rights lawyer

June 20, 2017

Catholic devotees in Sri Lanka: a minister has come under fire for apparent ignorance about Christianity in the island

Sri Lanka’s justice minister faced calls for his resignation Tuesday after accusing a human rights lawyer of misleading the public about a spate of crimes against Christian places of worship.

Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakse threatened to disbar Lakshan Dias after Dias said nearly 200 Christian holy sites had been vandalised since a new government took office in 2015.

The justice minister demanded on national television that Dias apologise for making “inflammatory statements”, saying the Catholic church had personally assured him no such incidents had taken place.

However civil rights group were quick to point out that evangelical churches had long been targeted by radical groups. They suggested Rajapakse had confused Catholicism and evangelism and was not fit to serve as minister.

Human Rights Watch said the minister’s threat against a lawyer trying to defend a minority group would “have reverberations beyond Sri Lanka”.



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