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UN rights chief ‘deeply alarmed’ by violence in Sri Lanka

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her "deep alarm" at attacks against Muslims by Sinhalese mobs in Sri Lanka, which are thought to have killed at least 3 Muslims and left over 80 injured in Aluthgama, a town in the South of the island.

“The Government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities,” said High Commissioner Pillay.

Her comments came after BBS leader Gnanasara stated at a rally in Aluthgama,

“In this country we still have a Sinhala Police, we still have a Sinhala Army. After today, if a single Marakkalaya (Muslim) or some other paraya (alien) touches a single Sinhalese...it will be their end.”

Pillay noted that during her visit to the island in August 2013, she had warned of incitement of violence by Sinhala Buddhist nationalist groups. 

The High Commissioner went on to say,

“I am very concerned this violence could spread to Muslim communities in other parts of the country… The authorities must immediately bring the perpetrators of such attacks to book and make it clear to the religious leadership on both sides, and to political parties and the general public, that there is no place for inflammatory rhetoric and incitement to violence.”

“At the same time, the security forces must use appropriate measures to contain the situation and ensure this tragic situation is not compounded by any excessive use of force,” she added.


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