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Ethnic parties do 'great damage’ claims Sri Lankan foreign minister

Speaking at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna Italy, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, G.L. Peiris, attacked ethnic and religious political parties in Sri Lanka claiming that “it does a great deal of damage”.

“There is no need for them to detach themselves from the national polity, to segregate, to compartmentalize the national polity by the formation and the emergence of political groupings that seem sectarian. They have a very narrow perspective, and that is hugely detrimental to the solidarity and the unity of our countries”.

In June both the parliament of the European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, slammed Sri Lanka for it persecution of Tamils and Muslims in the country noting their deliberate targetting by country’s security forces. In the High Commissioner’s statement she highlighted he “harassment of Tamils, including in the context of commemoration events for those who died at the end of the war” as well as discriminatory measures taken against Muslims on the island. The EU resolution, further slammed Sri Lankan government and military officials for stoking racial and ethnic resentment and demand that officials be held accountable.

Peiris's claim comes during the 48th UNHRC session and prior to a visit by an EU delegation to Sri Lanka which will assess the country’s eligibility for the GSP+ scheme.

Read more here: ‘We have nothing to hide’ - Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary prepares for EU visit

During the Foreign Minister’s statement’s he further expanded on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy claiming it was motivated by the Non-Alignment Movement and the country would not come to “a priori conclusions” simply due to membership of fidelity to a certain group.

He further elaborated criticising the UN Security Council claiming that it ignored “other emerging powers” and had been used as an instrument for the affluent and powerful to dominate the rest of the world.

Peiris also remarked on the dire economic straights Sri Lanka finds itself in with trade relations in jeopardy and the a massive decline in average $ 4.2 billion earned annually from tourism. He stated that “if the World Bank were to agree to a policy of debt forgiveness […] that would greatly accelerate and facilitate the economic development of our countries”.

Whilst Sri Lanka is in the midst of an economic crisis, having lost an estimated Rs. 1.6 trillion in revenue across the pandemic, Sri Lanka’s finance minister maintained that the country would not borrow from institutions which would “attach conditions that impact the country’s sovereignty”.

Read Peiris’s full statement here.

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