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IMADR submitted a request to the Government of Sri Lanka to protect human rights of Muslims

Date : 2014.07.01

27 June 2014

Request to the Sri Lankan Government:

Take Urgent Action to Stop Attacks on Muslims

The International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism-Japan Committee(IMADR-JC) expresses our grave concern to the latest horrific violence led by the extreme right-wing Sinhala Buddhist organisation, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, Buddhist Power Force) against the Muslim communities in the towns of Aluthgama, Beruwala, Velipenna and Dharga in Southwest Sri Lanka.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, at least 4 people have died including one Tamil in the violence led by the BBS. 80 people have suffered serious injuries including shooting and knife wounds.The extremists have torched and stoned mosques. They have also attacked and destroyed manyMuslim-owned houses and businesses.

It is regrettable that the President of Sri Lanka and his Government took no immediate, effective measure to stop the violence or to provide clear orders to the security forces to maintain law and order as well as to protect civilians. On the contrary, the BBS has been allowed to lead its campaign of violence againstMuslims over the past three years. The campaign includes attacks against individuals, places of worshipand businesses. To date, most perpetrators are not arrested; they continue the campaign of hatred andviolence.

Few days after the incident, Wataraka Vijitha Thero, a moderate Buddhist monk who has criticised the BBS, was reportedly found undressed and with numerous cuts on his body in the district of Panadura,near Colombo. We condemn the incident and demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of thoseresponsible for the crime. We also are concerned that such targeted attack would fuel religious intolerance,and discourage people who are supportive to Muslim communities.

According to reliable sources, independent journalists, community leaders, and politicians have been refused entry into the area to report on events or to seek ways to address them. Vans carrying relief supplieshave been set alight. The Government must allow those independent journalists and community leaders to access the area without a security threat when reporting on events.

Furthermore, the Government must act now to bring to an end this three-year campaign of hate speech and violence by the Bodu Bala Sena. IMADR-JC calls upon the President of Sri Lanka to immediatelytake actions to stop hate speech and religious intolerance as well as to prevent any reoccurrence of suchincident. We regret the failure to avoid such violent attacks against the Muslim community in spite of the early warning given by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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