JVP, JHU object to channeling relief through World Vision

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 January 2005, 14:11 GMT]
Parliamentary group leader of JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna), Mr Wimal Weerawansa, said at a meeting of the national committee on disaster management that his party is deeply concerned about channeling tsunami relief aid through World Vision. The proceeds of one day international cricket match between Asia and the rest of the world, held in Melbourne, Monday, was to be channeled through World Vision, according to sports officials in Melbourne.

JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya) also joined JVP in raising questions about World Vision, a Christian organization, receiving the relief aid. JHU leader, Ven. Ellawala Madhanaada Thera, charged that the funds from the cricket match might be used for illegal purposes. He said the task force on tsunami relief setup by the government should further discuss the issue.

President Chandrika Kumarathunge who presided the meeting said the government had no authority to monitor the large amount of tsunami aid being obtained by NGOs.

United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Karu Jeyasuriya, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauf Hakeem, EPDP leader Douglas Devanada also participated in the meeting.

In the meantime, JHU deputy leader, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera, in a letter to Sri Lankan Cricket Association asked why the aid from the cricket match is being channeled through World Vision, which in the past has been accused of "unethical religious conversion". In the letter he demanded an assurance that World Vision would not use these funds to convert more people into fundamentalist Christianity.

He warned that channeling the funds through such a group would tarnish the name of International Cricket Council. He said the funds should have been channeled through the United Nations or the Sri Lanka government.

A bill submitted to parliament by JHU that makes religious conversions illegal is already in progress.

 

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