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USCIRF 'hopes and trusts' Sri Lanka will address issues of religious freedom

The United States Commission on International and Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said it hopes Sri Lanka will address issues of religious freedom on the island and hold perpetrators of crimes committed against religious groups accountable.

In a statement released to mark the end of a three day visit to the island by Commissioner Eric P. Schwartz and USCIRF Senior Policy Analyst Sahar Chaudhry, USCIRF said it was “very pleased to hear that reports of abuses perpetrated against minority religious communities have diminished over the last few months.”

“We encourage the government to hold perpetrators of such crimes accountable,” said the statement. “We believe accountability will encourage a critical sense of security and well-being among affected communities.”

USCIRF further added that whilst there was a sense of “great encouragement”, “representatives of civil society with whom we met expressed continued concerns about the ability of religious communities to practice their chosen faiths without restriction”.

“We hope and trust Sri Lankan officials will address these issues in the weeks and months to come,” it concluded.