Canada Condemns Violence Against Muslims in Sri Lanka

( June 17, 2014, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:

“Canada condemns the outbreak of communal violence against Muslims, which resulted in the loss of lives and extensive damage to property in the south of Sri Lanka on June 15, 2014.

“We offer our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.

“This is one of a number of recent and troubling attacks targeting the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. It is of the utmost importance that every person is able to practise his or her faith free from the threat of violence. We urge Sri Lankan authorities to act quickly to ensure the safety of all communities. These attacks are completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the right to religious freedom.

“Canada will continue to condemn all religiously motivated attacks. We urge calm on all sides and call for a swift and transparent investigation into what happened, as well as appropriate prosecution of those responsible.”

Meanwhile, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) condemns in the strongest manner possible attacks on Muslim community in Sri Lanka. Several people have been killed and more than 78 people injured after the most recent horrendous attack near Aluthgama and Beruwala in Sri Lanka yesterday.

These targeted attacks by Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist groups have grown in numbers in the past few years, and as is habitual in Sri Lanka, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. “The lukewarm and ineffective measures taken by law enforcement and government officials has emboldened the extremist Sinhala Buddhist organizations like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization and the attacks have kept growing”, said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress.

Tamils, who are mainly Hindus and Christians, expected to remember the 31st anniversary of “Black July”, in Toronto and all over the world, in July 1983, Sinhala nationalist mobs killed over 3000 Tamils in the streets of Colombo and all across Sri Lanka. CTC condemns the recent attacks on Muslims , and urges Canadian government and the international community to send a very strong message to the current Sri Lankan government to take effective and timely action to stop these violence against minorities immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice.

We also extend our deepest sympathies to victims of this recent violence in Sri Lanka.