Amnesty International has called for those responsible for anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka to be held to account in a statement released earlier on Tuesday.
Commenting on the recent attacks, David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director, said,
“There has been a disturbing rise in attacks and harassment of religious minorities in Sri Lanka over the two past years, mostly led by groups with a hard-line Buddhist or nationalist agenda, and these groups are reported to have strong links to high-ranking government officials. Rising violence against religious minorities cannot be treated as an isolated issue – stopping it must be a crucial part of the national reconciliation that is so badly needed since the conflict’s end in 2009.”
With the violence continuing for a second day, Griffiths went on to warn,
“This is the worst outbreak of communal violence in Sri Lanka in years and there is a real risk of it spreading further. The government must do everything in its power to end it immediately, while respecting the human rights of all concerned. Those responsible for killings and other acts of violence must be held to account, and at-risk Muslim communities given the protection they need.”
He also highlighted the impunity with which the attackers, reportedly including Buddhist monks, have been operating with, adding,
“Eyewitness reports that police have stood by and refused to intervene in the violence are very troubling and must also be investigated. Security forces have a duty to protect the right of everyone to life and security regardless of their beliefs or identity.”
Amnesty International also highlighted a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, which highlighted concerns over a “recent surge in incitement of hatred and violence”.