The rights of the minority Tamil and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka continue to be violated and they live in fear of marginalisation, a new report from a UK-based rights watchdog has said in a new report.
The report compiled by the Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) said human rights violations in Sri Lanka continue unabated against ethnic Tamils and Muslims who fear an increasingly nationalist government.
The group claims to have carried out groundbreaking first-hand research from the north and east of the country for its reported titled ‘No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka’. The report quotes minority political leaders and activists who express serious fear of a state based on Sinhala hegemony.
``It documents cases of land in traditional Tamil and Muslim areas being seized by military and civilian authorities and used for the construction of everything from military encampments and a power plant to hotels and leisure facilities,’’ the group said in an emailed statement.
The report expresses concerns by minority activists at the sudden proliferation of Buddhist temples and religious symbols in Tamil and Muslim areas, which they argue is politically sponsored. ‘The situation in the resettlement areas in the north and east is very worrying, particularly as international and national media and NGOs have restricted access.
There is a high level of militarisation and state control over freedom of movement and association, with local women vulnerable to sexual abuse and harassment,’ the report quoted Mark Lattimer, executive director of MRGI as having said.
The report made a series of recommendations to the Sri Lankan government including asking for a published policy to address minority rights issues, the resumption of all-party negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement on political representation and governance for minorities, and the development of an impartial and credible mechanism for justice and reconciliation in the country.