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Muslims face threats and attacks in Sri Lanka - HRW

Muslims in Sri Lanka continue to face the threat of mob violence and arbitrary arrests amongst other abuses warned Human Rights Watch (HRW) today, as it called on the government to do more to protect the Muslim community.

“The ethnic violence and human rights violations that many Sri Lankans have suffered are now being directed against Muslims,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW. “The Sri Lankan government needs to take a stand against discrimination and intolerance, use the law to punish those responsible for abuses and protect, rather than target, vulnerable people."

Sri Lankan authorities have reportedly arrested hundreds of Muslims arbitrarily with the vast majority of arrests occurring under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). HRW described the PTA as “a long-abused law that the government pledged to the United Nations Human Rights Council to repeal”.

In addition, the government has “failed to protect Muslims during communal rioting,” it added, with senior officials making “little effort to discourage public campaigns by religious figures that put the Muslim community at greater risk”. 

“The Sri Lankan government has a duty to protect its citizens and prosecute those responsible for the terrible Easter Sunday bombings, but it shouldn’t be punishing the Muslim community for this crime,” added Ganguly. “It’s crucial for the authorities to act swiftly to stop mob violence, threats, and discrimination against Muslims.”

See more from HRW here.