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OIC-IPHRC ‘categorically condemns’ Sri Lanka’s ‘reintegration’ plan and Burqa ban

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) "categorically condemns Sri Lanka's enactment of discriminatory laws under the pretext of 'deradicalization' and 'counter terrorism' prompting arbitrary arrests, torture and banning of [the] Burqa," in a statement released on 29 April 2021. 

The OIC-IPHRC also highlighted that these "discriminatory laws" allow for "grave deprivations of human rights of Muslim minorities and [are] violative of Sri Lanka's international human rights obligations."

They urged the Sri Lankan government to "immediately repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)," which allows for the creation of "reintegration centers." These centers will "arbitrarily detain Muslims and subject them to torture and other human rights violations without any legal oversight with impunity," stated the OIC-IPHRC. 

The OIC-IPHRC also stated the newly imposed Burqa ban "squarely violates minorities' right to freedom of religion guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)." 

Their statement went on to highlight that the Burqa Ban would;

(1) "Violate the Muslim women's freedom to manifest their religion (ICCPR Art. 18(1); and exercise their choice for identity as guaranteed under (ICCPR: Art. 17(1)."
(2) "Expose [Muslim women] to religious discrimination (ICCPR: Art. 2(1), Art. 26)."
(3) "Violate the rights of [Sri Lankan] minorities 'to enjoy their own culture, and to profess and practice their own religion' (ICCPR Art. 27)."

Furthermore, the OIC-IPHRC stated the ban would "cement negative stereotypes against Muslim women, …  cause intersectional discrimination and greater marginalization as well as stoke undue hostility / physical violence because of their clothing."

The Commission concluded, "such a majoritarian rhetoric and discriminatory measures are contrary to the ideals of pluralism, counterproductive to societal cohesion and clear manifestations of Islamophobia."

In addition, the OIC-IPHRC urged the Sri Lankan Government to fulfill its international human rights obligations by ensuring to protect the rights of its Muslim minority to practice their religion, free from any coercion or discrimination."

Read the OIC-IPHRC's full statement here.

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