Amnesty International has called on Sri Lanka to protect the country’s Muslim minority as it is being targeted by mobs in horrific attacks on their homes, mosques and businesses in the wake of the Easter Sunday massacre.
Responding to the killing of at least one individual and the spate of attacks against Muslim-owned businesses, mosques and houses in several parts of Sri Lanka, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, Thyagi Ruwanpathirana said the authorities must take steps to promote unity in diversity against the forces of hatred, those promoting fear and violence, and pitting communities against each other.
“The authorities must put the protection of human rights at the heart of its response and prevent further violence, including holding the suspected perpetrators of earlier attacks accountable. In particular, prosecutions must also meet international fair trial standards,” she said.
“It is alarming to see reports that those suspected to be involved in the March 2018 anti-Muslim violence may have been involved in these recent attacks as well,” she said.
She also said that the attacks did not emerge out of a vacuum and that there were clear signs that a backlash against Muslims was underway and the authorities could have acted on reports of threats earlier, potentially preventing much of the violence over recent days.
On 13 May, the Government imposed a countrywide curfew following reports of widespread attacks against Muslim-owned businesses, homes and mosques. Amith Weerasinghe who has been arrested on 14 May in connection to the attacks was also one of the people previously arrested, and later released on bail in 2018 for his role in anti-Muslim attacks in Digana.