Navi Pillay, the outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed deep alarm on Monday at the inter-communal violence in Sri Lanka.
“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,” the High Commissioner said in a statement.
“I am very concerned this violence could spread to Muslim communities in other parts of the country,” she said, urging authorities to 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.
During her visit to Sri Lanka in August 2013, and in her subsequent reports to the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner warned about the rising level of attacks against religious minorities and the incitement of violence by Sinhala Buddhist nationalist groups. In March 2014 the Human Rights Council too expressed its alarm at the significant surge in attacks against members of religious minority groups in Sri Lanka, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians.