Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: 

Under the previous Rajapaksa government, religious minorities including Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka found themselves under almost constant assault. Radical Buddhist nationalist, believing that Sri Lanka was a nation only for Buddhists, often attack minorities and their places of worship under the Rajapaksa government. Because of this, religious minorities untied and helped vote the Rajapaksa government out of power, hoping for a new and freer future for Sri Lanka. Will the new government be better than the old? Only time will tell. 

1/9/2015 Sri Lanka (One India) – The victory over the LTTE and the invitation of the Pope to Sri Lanka were not enough for Mahinda Rajapaksa to retain his post as President for a third term in a row. No one can claim that this was a shock result and many analysts would in fact point out that the victory of Srisena was written on the wall.

The people of Sri Lanka clearly voted for a change and issues such as high cost of living, nepotism were among the key factors that resulted in the defeat of Rajapaksa.

Ahead of the elections a lot of calculations went wrong for Rajapaksa. As the election process was set into motion Rajapaksa witnessed one set back after another. The resignation of Rishad Bathiudeen who was the Industry and Commerce Minister was a major blow for Rajapaksa.

The 9.3 per cent votes of the Muslims that Rajapaksa was banking on was also lost after the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Bathiudeen too resigned to support Sirisena. On 28 December, leader of Sri Lanka’s largest Muslim political party, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Justice Minister Mr. Rauf Hakeem delivered a body blow to Rajapaksa after pledging support for Sirisena.

According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was never expected to support Rajapaksa. Palani Digambaram and V Radhakrishnan, both Deputy Ministers representing Indian origin plantation Tamils resigned from Rajapaksa’s Ministry on 11 December 2014 to support Sirisena.

For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, the unity of the minorities against a Presidential candidate has become complete. The votes of the minorities with 32% share of the total votes with Tamils representing 15.3%, followed by Muslims with 9.3% and Christians with 7.4% was decisive.

Apart from Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka from 12 to 15 January 2015, Rajapaksa has simply failed to convince his re-election for another term.

The victory over the LTTE no longer sells. President Rajapaksa and his brothers also cannot lambast the West and the United Nations having barred the visit of the UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Sri Lanka into the country. In fact, on 23 December 2014, Rajapaksa conceded to the main plank of the opposition as he promised to reform the powerful presidency within one year if re-elected. Sri Lankans are unlikely to be convinced by enlightenment gained by Rajapaksa in the face of defeat.

The dissatisfaction of the Tamils against the Rajapaksa regime requires little introduction. However, it is the relentless attacks which made the Muslims and the Christians anti-Rajapaksa.

On 2 July 2014, three UN experts on freedom of religion, minority issues, and summary executions in a joint press statement urged the government of Sri Lanka to adopt urgent measures to stop the promotion of racial and faith-based hatred, and violence against Muslim and Christian communities by the Buddhist groups with extremist views, and bring perpetrators of this violence to justice.

According to the UN experts, more than 350 violent attacks against Muslims and over 150 attacks against Christians were reported in Sri Lanka in the last two years.

[Full Story]