Probe anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka – HRW

Human Rights Watch - HRW

The Sri Lankan authorities should urgently investigate deadly violence against Muslims by Buddhist hardliners, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

The violence, which began June 15 after a rally led by the Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS), left several dead, 80 injured, and numerous homes and businesses destroyed in Aluthgama town and surrounding areas.

Senior government officials as well as President Mahinda Rajapaksa have denounced the violence and promised compensation to the victims.

But the government needs to seriously investigate who is responsible for the attacks on Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said.

Police have detained at least 40 people.

“Sri Lankan authorities need to do more than arrest those carrying out the anti-Muslim violence. They need to investigate and identify any instigators,” said the US-based group.

“That means taking a hard look at the role and relationship between extremist Buddhist groups like the BBS and the Sri Lankan security forces.”

In addition to providing prompt relief for those who suffered harm in the attacks, the authorities should create a secure environment for members of all communities, Human Rights Watch said.

(Ada Derana)