We strongly condemn the attacks on the Muslim community in Sri Lanka! We reject continuing Buddhist-‐Sinhala Chauvinistic trends and partiality
There have been continuous and widespread attacks on the Muslim community in Ampara and Kandy districts since last weeks by the groups that claim for Sinhala-‐Buddhist chauvinistic power.
Though it seems that the hate violence and crime are subsided for now, the violence of this nature has been continuing last few years. Sinhala – Buddhist Chauvinistic monks, who systematically provoke violence against Muslim community in social media. These monks together with the groups, who are supported by high-‐level political authorities, had carried out the attacks overtly from Kiribathgoda to Aluthgama.
There are abundance of video pieces of evidence and direct eyewitnesses that are reported wildly through the internet and other social media. However, there are no effective actions by government authorities to arrest and bring the perpetrators before the court of justice, to stop the violence, and to provide proper protection for victims of violence as well as for the vulnerable community that is continuously being targeted. Despite the fact that there is an island-‐wide enforcement of emergency law and regulations by the government and a curfew in Kandy district, there is no progress in bringing the violence under controlled; instead, attacks have been uncontrolled and continued.
Over 70 business enterprises and more than 25 Mosques were set on fire, or burnt, and or destroyed. We don't have any information on casualties and wounded. It is reported that, in most of the places, the special police forces and the army sent for controlling the situation have acted merely as spectators than being protectors. What the past experience of declarations of emergency law shows that it had been used to silence and control the victims/affected groups. It is also confirmed by the attacks that continue today.
All of the past governments in Sri Lanka have maintained the Sinhala-‐Buddhist Chauvinism and often sabotaged the peace and harmony among all ethnic groups intentionally to sustain their political survival. The government under the president Mithriplana Srisena came to the power claiming that it will bring good governance to change this situation. After came into power, neither it focused on any measures that could bring unity, harmony, and reconciliation among all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, nor it brought anyone who had acted against ethnic harmony before the law. After so-‐called good governance government came to power, the cases filed in the court by people were also being prolonged.
The government did not attempt to control the groups such as Bhudhu Bala Sena that continuously manufacture their hate speeches and actions against Muslims. Yet, the government has not contemplated with any effective actions and practices to assure and confirm its proclamation like all ethnic groups and citizens in Sri Lanka have equal rights. At least, it has not yet taken any actions on people who were publicly staging hate speeches and publishing flyers and brochures.
In fact, this kind of imprudent conduct of the government, ‘the good governance’ reconfirms that this government wants the country to be divided ethnically and to be a fertile land for hate situations to grow ethnic conflicts and violence.
This is why simple misleading and fabricated messages such as food is mixed with contraceptive pills and a fight between people among drunkards could also result in big ethnic collisions. This is the situation what Sinhala-‐ Buddhist chauvinistic individuals and the groups wanted. The politicians use this situation to achieve political power and to gain benefits for some ethnic groups. Thus, the people belong to these groups such as general Sinhala public and constituents believe that the attacks of this kind are reasonable and valid. The position of the general public has made the situation complicated and worse. Before the voice of Sinhala-‐ Buddhist chauvinists, the voice of democratic people among Sinhala community that condemn this dangerous situation becomes fragile and insufficient.
As all the ethnic collisions happened in the past, the one staged now is also premeditated and carried out by Sinhala -‐Buddhist chauvinistic powers and groups.
The ethnic conflict and collision is an ultimate result of the propaganda by them that describe ethnic groups other than Sinhala as dangers and instill hatred against them among the public. Though this government does not directly support and involve in this process, we have no other way but to think that the government also assists them by not taking any bold and courageous actions against the perpetrators to bring the situation under controlled.
We, as a civil society in Canada strongly condemn the ethno-‐racial attacks against Muslim community by Sinhala-‐ Buddhist Chauvinists in Sri Lanka. We demand the government to end the attacks, to bring the perpetrators before the court of justice, to provide compensation for the material lost, and for the rehabilitation of the people who are affected.
We humbly request all who believe on democratic values -‐ the public, social groups, social activists, writers, media personals, international human rights activists and groups, and Canadian politicians to urge the government to take necessary action to implement these actions. We believe there are individuals and groups who concerned about the need for creating a positive and fair socio-‐political environment, where all ethnic groups could exercise their freedom and equality while enjoying their uniqueness and diversity in Sri Lanka. We urge all international civil societies and groups to voice for these actions.