If not adequately dealt with, recent violence has potential to escalate further: UN Advisers

May 14, 2019 (LBO) – United Nations Special Advisers have encouraged the Government to make sure that the recent attacks against religious minorities and other past similar attacks are fully investigated and those responsible for committing these violent acts are brought to justice and made accountable.

In a joint statement, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng and the United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Karen Smith warned that if not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further.

The attacks committed on this weekend of 11 May follow deadly attacks carried out on Easter Sunday of 21 April 2019, against churches and hotels in various parts of the country in which more than 200 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

The recent violence in Sri Lanka has highlighted a growing influence of nationalist and extremist views of identity in the Asia region, putting religious minorities at risk, UN special advisors said.

“it is in the interest of all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka, as well as the Government, the opposition, civil society and the security sector, to work collaboratively in taking appropriate action and immediately stop these hateful attacks,”

“The country is trying to move forward from a traumatic period of inter-ethnic armed conflict, but these attacks are pushing Sri Lanka backwards,”

“If not adequately dealt with, the recent violence has the potential to escalate even further.”

The Special Advisers acknowledged and welcomed the swift response of the Government, including by deploying the security forces to protect affected communities and addressing the spread of false information and incitement to violence.

“The Government needs to give the example that it will not tolerate the spread of prejudice and hate among groups within its population,”

“This needs to be done at national and local level, by putting an end to local discriminatory practices that perpetuate religious intolerance and violence.”

They also offered their support to work with the Government on inter-faith and inter-religious harmony and inclusivity.

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