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Sri Lanka moving backwards towards armed inter-ethnic conflict warns UN genocide prevention adviser

The United Nations Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect, Adama Dieng and Karen Smith, released a statement of concern in response to widespread anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka last weekend.

The experts warned that the recent violence was pushing Sri Lanka back towards a  period of armed inter-ethnic conflict.

Noting the recent mob violence that saw one Muslim man die in Sri Lanka’s North Western Province, the Advisers called on “all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka, as well as the Government, the opposition, civil society and the security sector, to work collaboratively in taking appropriate action and immediately stop these hateful attacks.”

Recalling the armed ethnic conflict, the Advisers said, “the country is trying to move forward from a traumatic period of inter-ethnic armed conflict, but these attacks are pushing Sri Lanka backwards. If not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further.”  

The statement concluded, “Sri Lanka has a pluralistic society. To be a Sri Lankan is to be a Buddhist, to be Hindu, to be a Muslim, to be a Christian. All these communities are entitled to their identity, to freely exercise their religion and to live in peace and security in Sri Lanka, as recognized by the country’s Constitution. We call on all Sri Lankans to respect one another.”

See full statement here