We are gathered here today to express our anger, horror and disgust about the most cruel and lowly practice of the Sri Lankan government and its so called scientific advisors. That is of forcibly burning the bodies of Muslim and Christian victims of COVID 19. Since March this year, since the first COVID victim died, the Sri Lankan government has forcibly cremated dozens of bodies of victims despite protests, pleas and appeals of not only the victims’ families but of the entire international community.
Cremation is against our faith. Losing a loved one is a misery big enough for the families. On top of that, forcibly preventing them from giving the last respects to their loved ones has added to the psychological trauma and shock. This is not only a despicable act that goes against all moral values and civilized behaviour, It is a violation of the right to practice and manifest religious beliefs. It is a suppression of the rights of minorities.
The United Nations has written to the Government of Sri Lanka to stop this inhumane practice. The Organization for Islamic Cooperation has written to the Government. International human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have asked them to stop it. And civil society organizations like People’s Rights Group and Universal Human Rights Council have asked them. But they are continuing their immoral oppression of minorities.
The WHO in its guidelines, has allowed burial as a method of disposing bodies of COVID victims. More than 190 countries allow burial of COVID victims. We ask the government of Sri Lanka: Why can’t you allow innocent victims to pay last respect to their dead according to their faith? Why can’t you act as a civilized government? What pleasure do you get from oppressing minorities?
You killed innocent minority Tamil civilians during the war and got away with it. Now you are oppressing the minority Muslims. We know it has now become an irresistible habit to oppress minorities in your country. Please do not think you can do it all the time. One day you will face international justice.
Sri Lanka, stop forced cremation!
Sri Lanka, stop violating human rights of minorities!
International Community, Speak up against this violation!