The Sri Lankan authorities must take action against those responsible for attacks on the country’s Muslim minority, Amnesty International said today, as the country declared a state of emergency following recent unrest.
Yesterday, a mob set homes, shops and a mosque belonging to the local Muslim community alight in the Digana area of Kandy, in central Sri Lanka. This was the second serious incident of violence against a Muslim community in the country over the past week, following a similar attack in the eastern coastal district of Ampara on 26 February.
Although several people have now been arrested for involvement in the recent attacks, there is still widespread impunity for previous incidents of violence against Muslim minority communities in the country, said Amnesty.
Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty’s Deputy South Asia Director, said:
“The Sri Lankan authorities must put an end to the impunity enjoyed by groups that incite hatred and carry out acts of violence against religious minorities. They have a duty to protect vulnerable groups and hold the perpetrators accountable.
“The failure to take action against these groups has only emboldened them further and plunged minorities into a deeper state of fear. This is not the first time such horrors have been visited upon the country’s Muslim minority.
“The scenes of the past week recall the attacks in Aluthgama, four years ago, showing how little has been done since then.”