As Sri Lanka continues to struggle with the pandemic, with an infection rate higher than India’s, the World Bank has signed an agreement with the government for an $80.5 million additional financing to help Sri Lanka access and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and to strengthen the country’s vaccination system and pandemic response.
In total, the World Bank’s “COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project” has contributed a total of $298.07 million to Sri Lanka’s pandemic management and prevention efforts. However, Sri Lanka’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been sharply criticised for its military-led response which has exacerbated ethnic divisions.
Commenting on Sri Lanka’s response, Boram Jang, Legal Advisor at the International Commission of Jurists Asia & the Pacific Programme stated:
“Having the military to oversee the public health policy and to act as the State’s first responders also normalises military occupation, exacerbates the existing ethnic divides, and further deteriorates human rights in Sri Lanka”.