Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Plea regarding Violence against the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka

A Plea regarding Violence against the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka
Jun 09, 2017

Seven overseas Sri Lankan organisations based in Australia have sent a statement to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on"A Plea for Our Multi-Faith Community: End the Violence against the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka"   Similar statements have also been sent to the President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, the Inspector General of Police, and each of the four Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theros of the Malwathu and Asgiriya Chapters of the Syamopali M"A Plea for Our Multi-Faith Community: End the Violence against the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka"aha Nikaya, the Amarapura Nikaya and the Rāmañña Nikaya.

The statement as follows
Sri Lanka Invites (SLI)
United Sri Lankan Muslim Association of Australia (USMAA)
Members of the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania (UCA Synod -VICTAS)
Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka (AAGGSL)
Australian Tamil Congress (ATC)
Bridging Lanka Ltd (BLL)
People for Human Rights and Equality (PHRE)
June 8, 2017

Dr Deepika Udagama
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
A Plea for Our Multi-Faith Community :End the Violence against the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka
Dear Dr Udagama,
Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Assalamualaikum! Greetings!
We of the diaspora community are deeply concerned and troubled at the continuing agitation and violence perpetrated against our brothers and sisters in the Muslim community in our island home. We can imagine the fear and hurt generated in the Muslim community in particular by these callous attacks. The entire population of Sri Lanka would also be agitated and acutely aware of how easily these matters can explode out of control after the history we have all experienced.
Following hate speeches by fringe groups and a few religious leaders, a new wave of violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka has been unleashed. A number of mosques, homes and business enterprises owned by Muslims have been attacked. These events during April and May are extremely distressing and detrimental to national unity and harmony.
The tragic memory of being torn apart by ethnic conflict for over three decades in Sri Lanka is just beginning to fade. We cannot afford to allow a small minority to try to take us back to civil strife and even war.
Historically Sri Lanka is a multi-faith, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation, and to use religion to propagate hatred and violence in any society is totally abhorrent.
Australia is a clear example of where Sri Lankans of all faiths live in harmony.  Over 100,000 expatriate Sri Lankans live and work in Australia. There is tremendous potential for us to invest and encourage other Australian business people to invest in a peaceful Sri Lanka. Returning Sri Lankans have brought back wealth and ideas along with increased tourism from our new communities. All this is in grave danger if violence and religious hatred are allowed to smear the image of Sri Lanka as a place of culture and compassion which is hungry for new industries and sustainable development.
Hence, we urge the Human Rights Commission to influence the Government of Sri Lanka to protect the rights of all citizens of Sri Lanka, including those of Muslims and to bring an end to the racially motivated violence and atrocities committed against them. It is also essential that the Government ensures that those responsible for the violence are brought to justice. We have a high regard for the rule of law and therefore we expect nothing less. It is hoped that the mandate of the United Nations in working towards dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes will be honoured, thus enabling a renewed sense of community in Sri Lanka.
We wish to support government endeavours to stop this senseless violence against a minority community and return to the peace that we all hunger for.
It is our hope that the Human Rights Commission will be able to influence the Government to take firm and swift action in the interest of peace and harmony for all.
We Remain Yours in Peace,
Overseas Sri Lankans in Melbourne
President, USMAA                    Riyaz Yoosuf
Convenor, SLI                            Larry Marshall
Program Manager, UCA Synod -VICTAS        Rev Dev Anandarajan
President, AAGGSL                   Lionel Bopage
Chairperson, ATC                       Reginald Jeganathan
Executive Director, BLL               Jeremy Liyanage
President, PHRE                        Ms Renuka Senanayake