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UN offers to work on inter-faith, inter-religious harmony, inclusivity

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UN has offered its support to work with the Government on inter-faith and inter-religious harmony and inclusivity.

This is stated in a Joint Statement issued by Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Karen Smith, UN Special Adviser. UN has expressed concern about the growing acts of violence on the basis of religion, including attacks against homes, places of worship and businesses, in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka.

The statement said:

"The recent violence in Sri Lanka has highlighted a growing influence of nationalist and extremist views of identity in the Asia region, putting religious minorities at risk.

It is in the interest of all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka, as well as the Government, the opposition, civil society and the security sector, to work collaboratively in taking appropriate action and immediately stop these hateful attacks. The country is trying to move forward from a traumatic period of inter-ethnic armed conflict, but these attacks are pushing Sri Lanka backwards. If not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further.

We welcome the swift response of the Government, including the deployment of the security forces to protect affected communities and addressing the spread of false information and incitement to violence.

The Government must make sure that these and other past similar attacks are fully investigated and those responsible for instigating or committing these violent acts are brought to justice and made accountable.

The Government needs to give the example that it will not tolerate the spread of prejudice and hate among groups within its population. This needs to be done at national and local level, by putting an end to local discriminatory practices that perpetuate religious intolerance and violence.

To be a Sri Lankan is to be a Buddhist, to be Hindu, to be a Muslim, to be a Christian. All these communities are entitled to their identity, to freely exercise their religion and to live in peace and security in Sri Lanka, as recognized by the country’s Constitution. We call on all Sri Lankans to respect one another."

 

 

 

 

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