18 September, 2021

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“Stop The Promotion Of Hatred And Faith-Based Violence” – UN Rights Experts Urge Sri Lanka

Three United Nations experts on freedom of religion, minority issues, and summary executions today called on Sri Lanka to adopt urgent measures to stop the promotion of racial and faith-based hatred, and acts of violence against Muslim and Christian communities by Buddhist groups with extremist views.

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief - Heiner Bielefeldt

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief – Heiner Bielefeldt

More than 350 incidents of violent attacks on Muslims and over 150 similar attacks against Christians have been reported in Sri Lanka in the last two years. Muslim and Christian communities are reportedly subjected to hate speech, discrimination, attacks and outright acts of violence throughout Sri Lanka on an almost daily basis.

On 15 June 2014, a local group promoting extremist Sinhalese nationalist views, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS – The Buddhist Power Force), staged a large protest rally in Aluthgama that resulted in inter-communal violence, in which four people lost their lives and about 80 were injured. According to reports, Muslim-owned homes, shops and mosques were attacked, vandalized and some were set ablaze.

“Such violence is fueled by existing atmosphere of impunity in Sri Lanka particularly condoning militant Buddhist extremists,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, warned. “Impunity and the inadequate response by the police and judicial authorities to protect the lives, physical security and integrity, and the property and places of worship of these communities may encourage further attacks and a risk of spiralling violence.”

Mr. Bielefeldt urged Sri Lanka to guarantee the right to freedom of religion or belief of members of minority religious communities and stop any advocacy of racial and religious hatred, as a show of respect for religious diversity and peaceful co-existence.

“The Government must stamp off the violence and put in place urgent protective measures to ensure the personal security of religious minority communities living in the country, under threat of hostility and violence by militant Buddhist extremists groups,” the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, stressed.

“The full range of rights of religious minorities must be guaranteed in law and protected in practice,” she noted, while welcoming the presidential announcement to appoint a high level panel to investigate those incidents.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, called on the Sri Lankan authorities “to undertake urgent and firm steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of those killings, while ensuring the immediate adoption of robust protective measures.”

“Showing determination in ensuring accountability in such cases must be a key element of the Government’s efforts to reduce the attacks and guarantee the safety of members of the religious minority communities,” Mr. Heyns said.

Alongside BBS, other groups promoting extremist views in Sri Lanka, such as the Sinhala Ravaya and the Hela Bodu Powura, purport themselves as the protectors of Sinhala Buddhism, which they claim is being threatened by Muslim and Christian religious minorities.

These extremist groups reportedly proclaim the racial superiority of Sinhala Buddhists and spread fear among local population, for example, through allegations that Buddha statues are being bulldozed by religious minorities, or that evangelical Christians are forcibly convert youths and sick patients in their hospital beds, or that Muslims are smuggling drugs and birth control pills in order to destroy Sinhalese people and prevent their reproduction.

“These statements contribute to spread a climate of fear among Sinhala Buddhists, who constitute the majority population in Sri Lanka, and resentment towards minorities,” the UN human rights experts said.

*The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. Three new mandates were added in March 2014. The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. 

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Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    Government authorities have no respect for the UN and naturally they pay no heed to their requests to uphold human rights. Making requests or issuing warnings serve no purpose. Instead, they should take some action.

    • 0
      0

      The state and the rulers have been promoting hate of ‘others’ for 66 years ans it has become second nature or habit to them.

  • 8
    0

    I think these experts are not reading our Govt. independent News Papers and Independent Electronic Media’s. There they have proved Govt. has nothing to do with recent clashes in Aluthgama and our Hon. Aparada Aarakshaka Lekam was in Mihinthale that day to meet Tissa.

    Now may be these Experts are wondering why our Independent Police Dept. is silent. that is because there was no any evidence to suggest anybody behind this clash.

    Our IGP clearly clarified that Police can’t take action against “Dharma Deshana” as there is no provision in the Law. The biggest dirty cloth cleaner in the Island, Mr. Ajith Rohana, Police Spokesperson clearly stated that Police has got no evidence to suggest any hate speeches from anybody.

    On the other hand, non other than our Hon. President himself stated that incident was not worthy to appoint a high caliber Presidential commission.

    There is another aspect to this incident as our War Hero, 7/11 war expert and White Flag expert himself challenge openly to prove his involvement in these communal clashes and if proved he will resign voluntarily. This challenge is open to any experts in the world.

    Our Hon. President, unlike other President’s in the world, has visited 2 times to check to see well being of people. He also allocated Rs. 200 Million from his pocket to re-construct the houses and Business properties and the job given to the Destroyers to re-built.

  • 6
    6

    Mahinda is supposed to have said:

    These UN Rights Experts are making big fuss about small incidents; anyway we have said that we will punish all those responsible.

    They must have been influenced by the LTTE rump diaspora, I am sure, he is reported to have said.

    • 0
      2

      Perhaps he was reading your many racist posts.

      • 3
        0

        Taraki

        “Perhaps he was reading your many racist posts.”

        Aren’t you a racist yourself?

        • 0
          0

          Taraki,

          Is pointing out racism also called racism?

          Didn’t he say the Aluthgama incidents are small to need a maha loku hartal?

  • 6
    0

    It is very clear now BBS and JHU have gained the title of terrorists and official label of terrorism by the UN. All supporters and youths who involved in BBS activities must get away from this terrorists organization for their own good. terrorists and terrorism is defined and identified by their actions , not by what they say.Look at this Gnasaras challenge to the police. I dont think even ” maru sira” or Pirabhaharan challenge the law enforcement agencies like that. He may be feel like sylvester Stallon in movie called “Rambo”. Some times some people get crazy when they closer to end. We need a country govern by the law, not by idiotic politicians and thugs. We have a self respect. We will not allow anyone to harass others.

  • 7
    1

    Like toothless Tiger. They look fierce but in truth harmless. Government now knows to ignore these threats like lightening without the thunder. What we need is action on the ground. Send in the blue helmet brigade, do something to bring the BBS buffoon, GR and MR to justice. The longer these criminals roam free, the more we Muslims live in fright of another impending attack.

    With ‘soon-to-be-announced’ election of Uva Province, Presidential and Parliamentary, we have no faith in the electoral process to produce a free and fair election. NO WAY in hell will this President permit it to be free and fair. If this government lose the election, Prez MR and his brother Gota have no place to run and hide for the all the crimes committed against humanity.

  • 4
    1

    The government should adopt zero tolerance policy on those who promote racial,religious hatred.The easiest way to bag the votes is propagating racial hatred.This should come to an end IMMEDIATELY. During the IPKF period, the paramilitary group EPRLF,the pioneers of forceful recruitment of child soldiers was responsible for the killings of educationists like economics lecturer krishnananthan,student leaders like Ahilan etc.etc.
    The paramilitary group PLOTE was famous for internal killings in Oraththanadu and also responsible for the killing of the journalist Sivaram.Even in the Darusman report paramilitary group PLOTE has been criticized.
    The paramilitary group TELO was responsible for the killing of Aalalasuntharam and Tharmalingam,former members of parliament.
    When Mavai Senathirajah was the commander in chief of the Tamil National Army(in the early,mid eighties),ran a torture camp in Madurai.
    Paramilitary leaders have now become Tamil nationalists.Alliance of paramilitary organizations have now become Tamil National Alliance.
    In the election platforms,TNA leaders thundered “vali thanthavarkalukku vali aetpaduththuvom”,WE WILL GIVE PAIN TO THOSE WHO GAVE US PAIN,”sinkalavarkalukku oru paadam padippippom”,WE WILL TEACH A LESSON TO THE SINHALESE.
    Both Sinhalese and Tamils should stop promoting racial hatred.

  • 8
    1

    Our thick-skinned President, his brothers and his despicable coterie of ministers and supporters can now take full credit for letting our miracle of Asia reap further infamy in the wider world. Our pariah status is now confirmed. Soon our Sinhalese global travellers will have to resort to answering ‘from Kerala’ when asked where they come from.

    • 3
      1

      Spring Koha

      “Soon our Sinhalese global travellers will have to resort to answering ‘from Kerala’ when asked where they come from.”

      Or Bihar.

  • 3
    1

    You will soon find that MR has been re-elected President, that the BBS have disappeared and that the UN, US & EU are ready to compromise their ethics and do a deal with the government.

  • 1
    6

    What is a hate speech?
    Can a speech on true facts be considered a ‘hate speech?
    For instance, if someone criticizes Muhammad marrying a six year old (which is true), is that a hate speech? I thought that’s free speech.

    • 3
      1

      Seriously Banda (Herold), “What is a hate speech”?
      and to think that we had many drinks together at Otters and share mutual friends.
      I have this nasty taste in my mouth!

      • 1
        0

        Don’t you know that I have a poolside bar in my country home to entertain friends.

  • 4
    0

    When President talk about Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims, instead of Sri Lankans, then expect trouble to divide and conquer.

  • 0
    1

    We can be quite sure that the reports of these Special Rapporteurs will be studied by the Human Rights Council investigators .

  • 0
    0

    Human rights ? Its more like no more humans left in our beloved mother Lanka thanks to the BBS and the 3 Kings !

  • 0
    0

    NEWs reports say, since 911, 50% of the mosques in Britain had been attacked (christains ?). Almost daily there is an attack on a mosque.

    what these guys have said about that ?

    Muslims are killing all over the world. What the UN has done on that ?

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