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Champion of human rights mourned in Sri Lanka

NEGOMBO (UCAN): American Jesuit Father Benjamin Henry Miller, who documented thousands of abductions and disappearances as well as other abuses during Sri Lanka’s 1983 to 2009 civil war, died on January 1 at the age of 93, in his small but beautiful room in an old attic of St. Michael’s college in Batticaloa, a major eastern city of the island nation.
 
He had been under medical care for age-related illnesses for several years prior to his death.
 

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Call to end political standoff in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (UCAN): Sri Lanka’s religious leaders appealed for an end to the bitter political crisis that is threatening the island nation’s democracy.
 

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Inquiry after religious unrest in Sri Lanka

KANDY (SE): Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, will appoint a commission comprised of three retired judges to investigate attacks on Muslims in the city of Kandy by Buddhist mobs in Sri Lanka, Firstpost reported.
 
The government declared a 10-day nationwide state of emergency on March 6 and police imposed a curfew in the Theldeniya and Pallekele areas of Kandy after Buddhist mobs attacked a mosque, Muslim businesses and houses on March 4. 
 

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Southern Asia’s year of worshipping dangerously

Of course, it is almost impossible to get past the ongoing visceral horror of the plight of Myanmar’s ethnic Muslim Rohingya people; over 650,000 of them brutally forced from their homes onto the margins of existence into crowded, inadequate, life-threatening refugee camps.
 








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Justice of the young injustice of the old

DILI (SE): Lucille Abeykoon, a social worker from the Human Rights Office Kandy in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is wondering why one of the youngest countries in the world, Timor-Leste, has made so much progress in the protection of human rights, accountability and the rule of law, while her own land, which has been independent from its colonial power for 69 years, has made so little.
 

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Buddhist monks baulk at losing political status

COLOMBO (UCAN): The powerful Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka have unanimously decided to oppose any changes in the constitution or even amending the existing one, something that Father Nandana Manatunga, the director of the Human Rights Office Kandy, points out that the president, Maithripala Sirisena, promised in his election campaign.
 

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Sri Lanka called to act on forced disappearances

COLOMBO (UCAN): Journalists in Sri Lanka are demanding that the government act quickly to pass a law that would make forced disappearances a criminal offence.
 
The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances ranks Sri Lanka as the second biggest offender in this area, as for decades people have simply been disappearing without a trace.
 

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Boat capsizes during prayer for safety

COLOMBO (AsiaNews): An boat overloaded with people taking part in a procession as part of the celebration of Our Lady of Good Voyage capsized on February 19 off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka claiming many victims.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is considered to be the protector of fishing people and ironically, the victims perished in the midst of their prayer for safety at sea. Eleven passengers, including three children, drowned.

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President meets Asian bishops in Colombo

COLOMBO (SE): The president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, praised the Church’s dedication to service of the poor at a meeting with a delegation from the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, which has been holding a plenary assembly in Colombo.

He invited the bishops to a meeting at his official residence in Colombo on November 30 and took the opportunity to highlight the work the Church has done in the volatile island nation.

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