The Sri Lanka government had conferred one of the nation's highest honors on Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah, executive director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance.
Yogarajah is also general secretary of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance in Sri Lanka and the government has conferred on him the national honorary title of "Deshamanya," which means "Pride of the Nation."
It is the second highest national honor in the south Asian island nation.
Rev. Yogarajah was presented the award in honor of his work in human rights, religious freedom and humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka, New-Yorked based WEA said in a statement Aug. 17.
WEA's Religious Liberty Commission monitors in more than 100 nations. It defends persecuted Christians, informing the global Church, challenging the Church to pray and giving assistance to those who are suffering.
It also makes fact finding trips and meets with governments and ambassadors. At the Unite Nations the commission reports about the situation and arranges special hearings with Christians from countries under pressure.
"I thank God for Godfrey's faithful and effective ministry that has had such a great impact far beyond the evangelical community, not only in his own country but also around the world," said Rev. Efraim Tendero, secretary general of the WEA.
Congratulating Yogarajah, he said, "It is my prayer that God will continue to use him as a role model for evangelicals in Sri Lanka and a strong voice on behalf of the persecuted Church."
Yogarajah has led the National Christian Evangelical Alliance in Sri Lanka for 25 years, championing human rights and religious freedom in Sri Lanka.
He was also the visionary behind the launch of the NCEASL's relief and development arm, the Alliance Development Trust, an agency that has received commendations from the government for its work in relief, rehabilitation and development.
Through the WEA, Yogarajah has worked extensively for religious freedom across the world.
He has trained persecuted religious minorities and national Evangelical Alliances on religious freedom and human rights.
He has advocated for religious freedom at institutions such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States state department and met with governments to advance religious freedom in restricted nations.
Rev. Yogarajah is also the recipient of the 'Good Samaritan Award' (2004) for religious freedom, presented by Advocates International and the 'Pro Fide Award' (2005) presented by the 'Friends of the Martyrs' in Finland for his contribution to the rights of minorities.
Upon receiving the award, Rev. Yogarajah said: "I believe this honor will give greater visibility and credibility to the country's evangelicals who have long been denied state recognition."