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Lankan party demands bishop's persecution for slamming govt's rights record

March 7, 2012 - Colombo

A Sri Lankan party has called for the persecution of a leading bishop for condemning the government's human rights record.

The Buddhist nationalist JHU party accused Roman Catholic bishop Rayappu Joseph forsympathising with separatist rebels after he and 30 priests asked the United Nations Human Rights Council tol launch an inquiry into the legacy of the Sri Lankan civil war.

The letter condemned what it described as continuing human rights abuses, apart from demanding an independent international inquiry on the legacy of the war and the need for truth and accountability.

The signatories also blamed the government for recent abductions of human rights workers and flaring up "vicious hate campaigns" against its opponents, the BBC reports.

Bishop Joseph's comments has led to a rift within the church because the views expressed by him contrast graphically with those of the top Catholic hierarchy in the country.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan church head Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has accused the West of infringing the country's sovereignty by planning to table a resolution at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.


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