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Erecting large Buddha statues in Tamil areas is 'disturbing'

Report says practice is impacting Sri Lanka's reconciliation efforts

September 20, 2016

The erecting of large Buddha statues in sensitive areas of Sri Lanka where Tamil Hindus are in the majority is one of ten issues impacting the country's reconciliation efforts says a report by a church organization.

"We find the erection of Buddha statues and stupas disturbing, especially in areas where there are no Buddhists," said the report published by Jaffna Diocese's Justice and Peace Commission Sept. 16.

"These are done with the help and support of the security forces and some of these are in or close by to Hindu temples," the report stated which highlighted the erection of several Buddha statues and a stupa, which disturb the religious "sentiments of the majority of the people."

Among the other obstacles towards peace and reconciliation highlighted in the report were the continued imprisonment of political prisoners, the lack of accountability for missing persons and the sustained enforcement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Sri Lanka's decades long civil war ended in 2009 when government forces overran the Tamil Tigers, an insurgent group that fought to carve out a separate Tamil homeland. According to the United Nations the war claimed the lives of at least 40,000 civilians in its final days alone.

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