Government urged to follow WHO guidelines on burials

The Government has been urged to respect the rights of religious minorities when conducting the final rites of Covid victims.

Amnesty International called on Sri Lankan authorities to abide by the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) which recommend burials or cremations for people who have died from COVID-19.

The rights of religious minorities should be respected and protected in this regard, it said.

Amnesty International’s request comes at a time when concerns have been raised by the Opposition and Muslim Community in Sri Lanka over the cremation of Muslim Covid victims, which goes against the community’s religious beliefs.

The Government yesterday announced that its stance with regard to the cremation of remains of Covid victims remains unchanged, but could be amended depending on the advice of the health authorities.

Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told Colombo Gazette that a proposal has been made to look for a remote area to bury the remains of coronavirus victims from the Muslim community.

However, the final decision on the matter will be taken by the health authorities who are involved in researching and drawing decision with regard to the coronavirus, he added.

Stating that the Government had approved cremation on the advise of health authorities, Minister Rambukwella refuted allegations that the Government was targeting a particular community in the country by its decision to cremate the remains of Covid victims. (Colombo Gazette)