Sri Lankan Buddhist Extremists Attack Church-Run Children's Home, and Threaten Death

Friday, August 11, 2006

(Christian Solidarity Worldwide) -- A mob of 200 people, accompanied by three Buddhist monks, attacked a children's home run by the Dutch Reformed Church in central Sri Lanka on Sunday, and planted a Buddhist flag on the roof.

The mob forced their way into the children's home in Balana, Kandy District, assaulted staff and threatened to kill the house parents. They threw stones at the house and broke roof tiles and rainwater gutters. The fence surrounding the property was completely destroyed.

The attack came after posters were put up demanding that the Dutch Reformed Church cease renovation work on the orphanage. The building was under renovation at the time of the attack, and no children were present.

According to a report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), the staff of the children's home were warned that if they did not leave the premises, they would be "burned alive". The "house parents" fled on Sunday night.

The children's home was founded in 1982 and is built on land owned by the Dutch Reformed Church, one of the oldest denominations in Sri Lanka with a history of over 300 years.

The incident has been reported to the police. The NCEASL said that: "It is imperative that the Sri Lankan Government take immediate action to prevent such acts of violence and intimidation."

Tina Lambert, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: "We are extremely concerned about the continuing violence against Christians in Sri Lanka. This latest incident, in which child care workers have been threatened, is unacceptable and we urge the Sri Lankan authorities to bring the perpetrators of such violence to justice."