Denying the right of a Sri Lankan to a safe and dignified burial, regardless of their ethnic background, and to be subjected to enforced cremation or to be forcibly buried in a foreign country, is a great insult to not only the victims but to the entire country. Any such attempt would only humiliate Sri Lanka in the eyes of the international community.
The National Movement for a Just Society was deeply concerned about reports that stated the Sri Lankan government had negotiated with the Maldives to facilitate the burial of Sri Lankan Muslims who succumb to Covid-19. We as an organization are deeply saddened by such actions which defames our motherland.
The government should not ignore the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the United Nations (UN) on the disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims, and veer away from accepted scientific findings in this regard. If we take such a prejudicial stance for whatever reason, it will only alienate our country from the civilized world. The government of Sri Lanka must understand this.
Despite reports to the contrary which stated that the government was engaged in various discussions with relevant stakeholders on this highly sensitive issue, the long delay in arriving at a final decision with regard to this issue is incomprehensible. In the eyes of the international community, this will only support the notion that Muslims in Sri Lanka are discriminated against. It will also create avenues to various extremist elements that may use this as an opportunity to act against Sri Lanka. This can be identified as many protests have already been organized in several major cities around the world.
Accordingly, the National Movement for a Just Society calls on the Government to take informed decisions in the name of justice, fairness and humanity.
We request the government to act upon the guidelines given by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations and to follow the advice of world-renowned experts, and to make necessary arrangements to allow for the burial of Sri Lankan Muslims in accordance with their religious traditions.
Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya
National Movement for Social Justice