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Catholic Bishops express concern over new Task Force

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The Catholic Bishops Conference yesterday said that the formulation of a new Constitution for the country was put on the back burner with the adoption of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

“Despite the promise made by the President and the Government before and after the elections, the formulation of a new Constitution for the country is put on the back burner with the adoption of the unholy manipulative 20th Amendment to the Constitution,” the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka in a statement said yesterday.

The statement issued under the Bishop of Badulla Rt Rev Dr.J Winston Fernando and Auxilliary Bishop of Colombo Rt Rev Dr. J. D. Anthony Jayakody urged the government to repeal the Gazette notification setting up the Presidential Task for ‘One Country, One Law’.

“To appoint a person without giving any consideration to his past records to chair the Presidential Task Force is adding insult to injury”, the statement said. “The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka following a meeting with Catholic Parliamentarians both from the Government and Opposition wish to express its deep concern about the erosion of the democratic principles and values in our country. Despite the promise made by the President and the Government before and after the elections, the formulation of a new Constitution for the country is put on the back burner with the adoption of the unholy, manipulative 20th Amendment to the Constitution. It is being exploited beyond its limit to the detriment of the well-being of the country.

“No one would oppose the “One Country, One Law” objective in governance provided its stems as a corollary of the Constitution of the country. But to appoint by a special Gazette a Presidential Task Force comprising hand-picked individuals from outside without any reference to the democratically elected Legislature is unacceptable. The Parliamentary process has been ignored in a matter of such grave concern.

“Moreover, leaving out of Tamils/Hindus and the Catholics/Christians, the two minority groups in the representation of the Presidential Task Force to study the implementation to achieve the purported objective of the “One Country One Law” concept makes no sense. Further, to appoint a person without giving any consideration to his past records to Chair the Presidential Task Force is adding insult to injury,” the statement said.

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