The Government of Sri Lanka(GoSL), withdraws the option which was available under Public Health Guidelines to allow the burial of the deceased Covid-19 victims,  which adversely affects the religious rights of the Muslim Community of Sri Lanka. This adverse decision was taken contrary to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) relating to the disposal of bodies affected by the Corona Virus, which are being followed by many countries, including United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Malaysia, Iran and Italy. In the absence of any scientific evidence of spread of disease after the body has been sealed in a body bag from respiratory or gastrointestinal fluids (and therefore there is no difference in cremation or burial with regard to spreading of the virus), this decision appear to be taken on other considerations. This will continue to  cause much anxiety and anguish to the affected Muslim families in particular and the community in general.  The GoSL should therefore reconsider reintroducing the amendment to provide the burial option too with strict conditions to avoid infection spread, as provided in the WHO guidelines, in addition to the cremation option.

COVID-19 Related Incidents, News & Other Activities in Sri Lanka

2021
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13/02/2021

Head of Tech Committee Confirms Burial Can Be Allowed for COVID Victims in Sri Lanka (Eng Subtitle)

Head of Govt appointed committee Prof. Jennifer Perera stands by its recommendation that both burial and cremation can be allowed for COVID victims

12/02/2021
12/02/2021

In Sri Lanka, a unique pandemic trauma: Forced cremations – Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sri-lanka-cremations-covid/2021/02/12/b97719a6-6562-11eb-bab8-707f8769d785_story.html

11/02/2021
11/02/2021

Scope with Waqar Rizvi – Forced Cremations

Interview on Pakistan Indus News Channel on SL Forced Cremation today (11.2.2021). Tayab from Bidmans firm London who handles the MCB challenge and US Task Force lead Bro Faris joined the interview.

The segment on forced cremation starts around 28mins into the show.

11/02/2021
11/02/2021
11/02/2021
10/02/2021

Sri Lanka to allow COVID burials for Muslims after outcry

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/10/sri-lanka-allows-first-covid-burial

10/02/2021
10/02/2021
10/02/2021
09/02/2021
09/02/2021
09/02/2021

Muslim families complain to UN over Sri Lankan Covid cremations

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/09/muslim-families-complain-to-un-over-sri-lankan-covid-cremations

08/02/2021

The Muslim Council of Britain call on the UN to halt forced cremations in Sri Lanka

The Muslim Council of Britain call on the UN to halt forced cremations in Sri Lanka

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has submitted a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) given the Sri Lankan government’s ongoing policy on forced cremations.

Zara Mohammed, the Secretary General of the MCB said:

“We are very concerned that the Sri Lankan government has ignored its own committee’s advice, which allows for the safe burial of the deceased. The Sri Lankan Government policy is unprecedented; no other state has carried out such unjust and discriminatory measures. We very much hope that the Sri Lankan government will change its policy in line with the World Health Organisation advice.”

Tayab Ali, Partner at Bindmans LLP who represents the MCB and the Applicants said:

“The forced cremations of Muslim bodies in Sri Lanka are a serious violation of the religious freedom of a minority group. It is a violation of international law to delay returning a family member’s body for burial in a timely way unless there is good reason to do so. In this case the Sri Lankan authorities have departed from the WHO’s recommendation for the safe management of a dead body during the coronavirus pandemic without any justification. Our clients were already suffering from the distress of losing a family member to Covid. It is truly heartless for the Sri Lankan government to add to that distress by unnecessarily forcing the bodies of loved ones to be cremated. We hope that the United Nations Human Rights Council will take immediate action on receipt of this complaint by granting interim measures to halt these cremations.”

The MCB urgently requests that the UNHRC immediately order the suspension of the forced cremations policy.

04/02/2021
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31/01/2021
29/01/2021

State Department account for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs

29/01/2021
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27/01/2021

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon Tweet

27/01/2021
26/01/2021
25/01/2021
25/01/2021

Sri Lanka’s baseless forced cremation policy inflicts trauma on Muslims

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/25/sri-lankas-baseless-forced-cremation-policy-inflicts-trauma-muslims/

25/01/2021

Sri Lanka’s cremation of COVID dead a ‘human rights violation’

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/25/forced-cremations-during-pandemic-a-violation-of-human-rights-un

25/01/2021

Sri Lanka: Compulsory cremation of COVID-19 bodies cannot continue, say UN experts

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26686&LangID=E

20/01/2021
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19/01/2021