A civil rights group challenges a government attempt to amend the Sri Lankan constitution to make Buddhism the ‘official religion’ in the island. A civil rights group challenges a government attempt to amend the Sri Lankan constitution to make Buddhism the ‘official religion’ in the island. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) – a civil rights organization in Sri Lanka – took the proposed 19 amendment to the constitution before the Supreme Court last week.
The CPA says the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution Bill that was published in the government gazette of October 29, 2004 and issued on November 1, 2004, is inconsistent with the constitution and Sri Lanka’s international obligations.
The Bill tries to amend the constitution to make it mandatory that Buddhists bring up their children as Buddhists.
It also provides for prohibiting conversion of Buddhists and for establishing a council to advise the President on such matters.
Clause 9.1 of the Bill, makes ‘Buddhism’ the ‘Official Religion of the Republic’, while allowing that ‘Other forms of religion may be practiced in peace and harmony with Buddha Sasana.’