Commission calls for action to curb sectarian violence
Graphic: Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Pettah Mosque) in the Pettah harbour area, Colombo
Sectarian violence incited by 'outside elements' has resulted in death, damage to property and trauma to community members, the Commission says.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has expressed its deep concern over recent violent acts committed on the basis of religious hatred that have caused death, damage to property and trauma to members of the community.
In a letter to the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the Commission noted that "[s]imilar incidents that occurred, or were perpetrated, during the last few months … reflect a pattern of violence based on religious hatred. In the circumstances we cannot consider this incident to be an isolated one."
According to the Commission, the incidents in Teldeniya, Ginthota and Ampara appear to be instigated by "persons from outside the area" who use a random incident "as an excuse to cause religious hatred and violence among the locals".
"It is the observation of our officers that both Sinhalese and Muslim communities living in villages surrounding the village of the person who tragically died in the incident that took place on 22 February continue to live in harmony," the letter stated.
"However, it is observed that due to the instigation and criminal acts of these outside elements, an environment of fear, division and religious hatred is taking shape among these communities."
The letter also noted that the violence had occurred against the backdrop of a sustained and organised hate campaign against certain religious groups on the social media.
"We observe that some of those hate filled messages target certain places of worship and business establishments," the Commission said.
The Commission called on the President and Prime Minister to take stern legal action against those people who engage in sectarian violence "and those who incite and nourish such violence".
The full letter is available on the website of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
Date: 11 March 2018
- Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (Pettah Mosque) in the Pettah harbour area, Colombo - McKay Savage, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2tzqsZx