A new report by CSW finds that religious intolerance in Sri Lanka remains high and has been exacerbated by a number of factors, including the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, social media, and the return to power of Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa, both of whom espouse Buddhist nationalist rhetoric and stand accused of war crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
The report, entitled A Nation Divided: The state of freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka, explores in depth the targeting of Sri Lanka’s Christian and Muslim communities, often by Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalists who are emboldened by a culture of impunity and the government’s own support for Buddhist nationalism.
It highlights, in particular, how social media can play “a major role in the spreading of stereotypes and misconceptions of religious minorities,” detailing several cases in which the spread of false rumors resulted in violence and riots in https://www.google.com/url?q=https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f%3D001J2OymgA_FKcoaHfElJCO-UF7IufrX9zJYyqZRgidVIWIYjFrENI5svgHSoBjRDigana.
The report makes a number of recommendations to the government of Sri Lanka, including to “prosecute those responsible for propagating hate speech against religious minorities,” and calls on the international community to, among other recommendations, “support calls for regular reporting to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.”
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said, “This report highlights the concerning trajectory that Sri Lanka has been on for some time. Christians and Muslims are increasingly vulnerable to religious intolerance, and even violence, as the government continues to promote a vision of a Buddhist nationalist Sri Lanka. We call on the government and the wider international community to take heed of the recommendations contained within the report and encourage the Sri Lankan government to pursue a path of justice, democracy and peaceful co-existence for all its citizens.”