HRW asks Govt. to end arrests | Daily News


HRW asks Govt. to end arrests

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a statement it released yesterday, has called on the government to end arbitrary arrests and other abuses against Muslims and appropriately insulate the community from further violence.

The organisation notes that since the Easter Sunday bombings, “Sri Lankan Muslims have faced an upsurge in violations of their basic rights and assaults and other abuses from Buddhist nationalists. Sri Lankan officials and politicians should stop endorsing, ignoring, or exploiting hate speech and mob violence directed at Muslims,” the statement said.

“The Sri Lankan government has a duty to protect its citizens and prosecute those responsible for the terrible Easter Sunday bombings, but it shouldn’t be punishing the Muslim community for this crime,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of the Human Rights Watch. “It’s crucial for the authorities to act swiftly to stop mob violence, threats, and discrimination against Muslims.”

In June 2019, the HRW interviewed Muslim victims of abuses, activists, lawyers, and officials to document abuses against Muslims, often with state complicity.

The HRW cites that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in May cited that the government failed to protect Muslims during communal rioting. “Police have repeatedly failed to act properly or prosecute perpetrators. For instance, the manager of a Muslim-owned business who was attacked said the police did not make any arrests despite plenty of CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators,” they said.

The Sri Lankan government should ensure the prompt and impartial enforcement of the law to protect the fundamental rights of all Sri Lankans. Crucial for ending abuses over the long term is for the government to implement its pledges to the Human Rights Council to ensure human rights reforms, transitional justice, accountability, and reconciliation, the HRW said.

“The ethnic violence and human rights violations that many Sri Lankans have suffered are now directed against Muslims,” Ganguly said. “The Sri Lankan government needs to take a stand against discrimination and intolerance, use the law to punish those responsible for abuses and protect, rather than target, vulnerable people.”


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