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UK condemns attack on church in Sri Lanka

The British government has spoken out against an attack on a church in North West Sri Lanka by a group of Buddhists headed by a monk last month.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alok Sharma said the UK condemns “all violence against religious minorities, including the attack on a church”.

Though over 200 witnesses had named the Buddhist monk and 12 others responsible for the attack, Sri Lankan police released all the accused on bail.

“The freedom to practise, change or share your faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right that all people should enjoy,” said Mr Sharma in response to a question by Gregory Campbell, parliamentarian for East Londonderry.

“The UK regularly raises human rights concerns with the Sri Lankan government,” he added.

“Most recently, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my noble Friend, the Rt Hon. the Baroness Anelay of St Johns stressed the importance of Sri Lanka protecting the rights of all its citizens when she met with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during her visit to Sri Lanka in November 2016.”

“The UK is committed to supporting government and civil society efforts to improve human rights in Sri Lanka and we are currently funding a range of projects in support of this. One of these projects supports interfaith dialogue, aimed at promoting cohesion between those of different backgrounds and beliefs.”

See his full response here.