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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Sri Lanka – Demand an end to violence against the Muslim and Christian community in Sri Lanka

Action Alert: Sri Lanka – Demand an end to violence against the Muslim and Christian community in Sri Lanka

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Write to the UN and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister demanding that they ensure an immediate end to religious hatred in Sri Lanka targeting Muslims and Christians

Contents

1. Action Required

2. Summary

3. Background

4. Sample Letters



1. Action Required 

Write letters and emails to the UN and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister demanding that they take action against religious hatred in Sri Lanka targeting Muslims and Christians.

2. Summary

IHRC are urging campaigners and activists to demand the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its commitment to “promote and protect the human rights[sic] all its citizens” by ensuring that the rights of Sri Lanka’s Muslim and Christians are safeguarded and that groups spreading religious hatred such as Bodu Bala Sena are stopped.

3. Background

On 16 February 2013, the Sri Lankan “Bodu Bala Sena” organisation or “Buddhist Power Force” held a rally in Maharagama inciting religious hatred through references to the Muslim Hijab as ‘gonibilla’ (bogieman) outfits and calling for a total ban on Halal products.  The General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, issued an ultimatum at the mass rally demanding that the government ban Halal certification by 31 March 2013 and promising an anti-Halal campaign until the ban is announced.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming increasingly manifest in Sri Lanka with accounts of blockades of Muslim-owned stores, several death threats issued to Muslim shop owners in the Kurunegala District, and threats to demolish the Dambulla mosque in central Sri Lanka.  There have also been attacks on Christian clerics, churches and religious articles; a statue of the Virgin Mary was torn down in a provincial town.

The Sri Lankan government claims to work towards safeguarding democracy and freedom for all its citizens and maintaining a “policy of openness and cooperation with all international human rights treaty bodies and mechanisms”.  If this is the case, then the government must ensure an immediate end to the numerous human rights violations of Muslims and Christians and take appropriate legal actions against all those responsible for the attacks against minority groups.

4. Sample Letters

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Sample letters are given below for your convenience.  Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details.  If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you send and the reply you received, to IHRC.  This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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a) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

Navanethem Pillay,
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear High Commissioner,

Re: Religious hatred campaign in Sri Lanka led by the Bodu Bala Sena organisation

I am deeply concerned over the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian sentiments being spread in Sri Lanka by the Bodu Bala Sena organisation.

On 16 February 2013, “Bodu Bala Sena” or “Buddhist Power Force” held a rally in Maharagama inciting religious hatred through references to the Muslim Hijab as ‘gonibilla’ (bogieman) outfits and calling for a total ban on Halal products.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming increasingly manifest in Sri Lanka with accounts of blockades of Muslim-owned stores, several death threats issued to Muslim shop owners in the Kurunegala District, and threats to demolish the Dambulla mosque in central Sri Lanka.  There have also been attacks on Christian clerics, churches and religious articles; a statue of the Virgin Mary was torn down in a provincial town.

The Sri Lankan government claims to work towards safeguarding democracy and freedom for all its citizens and maintaining a “policy of openness and cooperation with all international human rights treaty bodies and mechanisms.  This ongoing oppression of individuals which is a clear violation of human rights law must not be tolerated by the UN which claims to stand for justice. 

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding the actions you will be taking.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your name]

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b)  His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka (please send letters to webinfo@defence.lk, or fax to +94 11 2430 590)

[Your name]
[Your address]


Dear Mr President,

Re: Religious hatred campaign in Sri Lanka led by the Bodu Bala Sena organisation

I am deeply concerned over the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian sentiments being spread in Sri Lanka by the Bodu Bala Sena organization.

On 16 February 2013, “Bodu Bala Sena” or “Buddhist Power Force” held a rally in Maharagama inciting religious hatred through references to the Muslim Hijab as ‘gonibilla’ (bogieman) outfits and calling for a total ban on Halal products.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is becoming increasingly manifest in Sri Lanka with accounts of blockades of Muslim-owned stores, several death threats issued to Muslim shop owners in the Kurunegala District, and threats to demolish the Dambulla mosque in central Sri Lanka.  There have also been attacks on Christian clerics, churches and religious articles; a statue of the Virgin Mary was torn down in a provincial town.

The Sri Lankan government claims to work towards safeguarding democracy and freedom for all its citizens and maintaining a “policy of openness and cooperation with all international human rights treaty bodies and mechanisms”.  If this is the case, then you must ensure an immediate end to the numerous human rights violations of Muslims and Christians and take appropriate legal actions against all those responsible for the attacks against minority groups.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding the action you will be taking.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your name]

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper." 

Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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