(Xinhua) — The European Union (EU) has joined the U.S. in raising concerns over Sri Lanka’s political and religious rights after three people were killed in an army shooting and a Buddhist mob attacked a mosque, the bloc said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement comes days after a mob allegedly led by Buddhist monks attacked a mosque in Colombo.
On Aug. 1, three youths were killed and around 50 injured when the army fired at a group of protesters demanding clean water in the town of Weliweriya about 30 km from Colombo.
“The European Union Delegation in Colombo is concerned by recent incidents in Sri Lanka including the deaths of three civilians following protests in Weliweriya on August 1, and the attack on the Grandpass mosque on August 10, which followed a number of other attacks on mosques and churches,” the statement noted.
Since the unrest, the army and police are conducting investigations but the main opposition organized a massive protest march on Wednesday in the capital to demand action from the government.
“The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of worship are fundamental to democratic societies and should be protected by the state. The European Union looks to the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure justice through speedy, impartial investigations and to enable all Sri Lankans to exercise their human rights freely,” the statement said.
Muslim ministers who are part of the ruling coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa also issued a strongly worded statement slamming the government’s “lukewarm and ineffective” measures to curb anti-Muslim violence that they claimed had strengthened extremist groups spreading chaos in the country.
The ministers, who also wrote a strong letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, demanded that the government take action to prosecute and punish those acting against national unity