The Government has condemned an attack on a church in northwest Sri Lanka, adding that the UK regularly raises concerns about human rights offences against Christians with the country’s Prime Minister.
The church building was destroyed by Buddhist militants on 5 January.
Christians claimed they were threatened by the mob, allegedly led by a Buddhist monk.
Some 200 witnesses said the mob carried sticks, iron bars and knives before ransacking the building.
Despite the monk being identified by name by many of the witnesses, the accused remains free on bail.
Christianity in Sri Lanka
– 1.9 million Christians live in Sri Lanka
– The new Constitution reiterates that Buddhism is the state religion
– Buddhist monks have been reported to disrupt Christian worship and lead attacks against Christians
Responding to a question raised by DUP MP Gregory Campell about whether the UK Government was planning to make representations to the Sri Lankan government about the situation, Alok Sharma said the government condemns all violence against religious minorities.
The Minister for Asia and the Pacific said: “The freedom to practise, change or share your faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right that all people should enjoy.
“The UK regularly raises human rights concerns with the Sri Lankan government.
“The UK is committed to supporting government and civil society efforts to improve human rights in Sri Lanka and we are currently funding a range of projects in support of this.
“One of these projects supports interfaith dialogue, aimed at promoting cohesion between those of different backgrounds and beliefs.”
Sri Lanka is number 45 on Open Doors’ World Watch List for Persecution.