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UN Human Rights Chief 'dismayed' by stigmatisation of Muslims in Sri Lanka

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said she was dismayed by reports of the stigmatisation of Muslims in Sri Lanka, in a statement at the 44th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). 

"In Sri Lanka and India, members of the Muslim minority are being targeted by stigma and hate speech associating them with COVID-19," the UN Chief said in her global update on human rights and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. 

She noted that in many countries, including Bulgaria, Pakistan and Haiti, members of minority communities and migrants face increasing stigmatisation and called on countried to "ensure that human rights are at the heart of the response to the pandemic."

Since the coronavirus outbreak on the island, the Muslim community has faced persecution by government officials. The Sri Lankan government made cremations compulsory for all coronavirus victims, disregarding advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and going against Islamic tradition. The move was criticised by UN Special Rapporteurs who appealed to Colombo to reconsider.

Read the full statement here