Posted on April 17th, 2020


Mr Ahmed Shaheed, ‘Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief’ had recently addressed a letter to the President of Sri Lanka adverting to the Government including the SL Health authorities’ decision to bury COVID 9 victims and freedom of religion and the rights of minorities. We have had the experience of many a UN Rapporteur attempting to pontificate to Sri Lankan government on how to manage the armed forces, how to compensate missing persons and how to run our judiciary et. These attempts are too many to mention and Sri Lanka had begun to treat such intimidating lectures with a pinch of salt.

It is on record that Mr. Ahamed Shaheed attempted to intervene irresponsibly sometime ago too when he warned Sri Lanka’s counteraction after the Eastern carnage violated the freedom of religion. Sri Lankan government rejected his position at the UN by stating that ..” the Government rejects the inaccurate references in the Special Rapporteur’s report to serious concerns” regarding Sri Lankan security forces colluding with mobs and not acting to prevent or stop the violence”; the lack of response from the authorities against this violence”; and the claims that acts of violence are indulged by the silence and inaction from the authorities”. It is regrettable that these inaccurate accounts have been included in the report, even after they have been fully rebutted and explained by the Government soon after the alleged incidents,”

The Sri Lankan delegation also said that it was regrettable that the report has sought to portray instances where criminal investigations have been conducted to prevent acts of terrorism in accordance with the law, as an endeavor to violate the freedom of religion or belief.”

When faced with a very serious issue such as COVID 9 which is receiving the attention of the whole world and Sri Lanka is engaging all its resources to control the pandemic, it is indeed unfortunate again to listen to such misguided pontifications made on behalf of narrow sectarian interests or the NGO WING, thus vitiating the bigger picture.


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