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Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Muslims angry over forced Covid-19 cremations

UN rapporteur on religious freedom urges the government to respect burial rights

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Published: April 15, 2020 11:36 AM GMT

Updated: April 15, 2020 11:37 AM GMT

Sri Lankan Muslims angry over forced Covid-19 cremations

Sri Lankan Muslims offer prayers during the Eid festival in Colombo on Aug. 12, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief has urged the Sri Lankan government to respect burial rights and stop hate speech against Muslims.

“We respectfully reiterate the importance that the government continues to uphold the right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right of the minorities even during this challenging time," said Ahmed Shaheed in a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

"The protection of the privacy and identity of the patients or deceased without identifying their ethnicity or religious background in public would prevent their stigmatization as individuals or member of a specific community."

Sri Lanka made cremations compulsory for coronavirus victims on April 12, ignoring protests from minority Muslims.

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