Discrimination against non-Buddhist religions in Sri Lanka - US report
Tamil Guardian 21 May 2013
In its annual International Religious Freedom report, the US State Department expressed concern about attacks and discrimination by Buddhists against Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
The report details attacks by Buddhists on religious buildings and said that “authorities were reluctant to investigate or prosecute those responsible for attacks on churches, Hindu temples, or mosques” and that "local authorities failed to respond effectively to communal attacks, including attacks on members of minority religious groups."
Discriminatory practices against Tamils are also criticised in the report, including the increasing number of Buddhist temples in Tamil areas.
"Religious tensions continued in the north following the conclusion of a 27-year conflict between the Buddhist-majority government and the Hindu-majority Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Government troops continued to build Buddhist shrines in Tamil areas of the north.
"Some Tamil groups alleged this demonstrated government-sponsored Sinhalese colonization of former LTTE-held areas. The number of Buddhist statues, viharas, and stupas in the northern districts of Jaffna and Kilinochi increased during the year. In November the Sri Lankan Army warned Tamils against celebrating Kaarthigai Deepam, a Hindu festival of lights. The festival coincidentally fell on the same day as “Heroes Day,” which commemorated fallen LTTE fighters.
"The military reportedly attempted to curb participation in the northern districts of Jaffna and the Vanni, instructing temples and the public not to light lamps and not to toll bells."
45 Tamil women that have been enlisted into the Sri Lankan army were taken on tour of ‘key’ places in the south of Sri Lanka.
The Defence Ministry described the process of introducing the Tamil women to ‘key places’ as part of reconciliation with the Tamil community.
The Sri Lankan army headquarters in Vanni,
The British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated at the House of Commons today, that if the Sri Lankan government failed to show credible progress on addressing human rights issues before the Human Rights Council meeting in March,
The United States Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, today warned that patience within the international community would wear thin if the Sri Lankan government failed to take credible steps to address the issue of human rights,