June 21, Geneva: Sri Lanka on Friday briefed the United Nations Human Rights Council on the actions taken by the government following the communal violence that swept through two southern coastal towns in the island.
Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva exercising a 'Right of Reply' in response to comments made by Germany, Norway and Canada during the General Debate on Friday (June 20) informed the 26the session of the UNHRC that the government had taken prompt action to bring back normalcy to Aluthgama and Beruwala, the areas affected by recent incidents of the communal violence between the Sinhala and Muslim residents.
Communal clashes between the Muslims and Sinhala Buddhists erupted last weekend in Southern coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala after a Buddhist extremist group Bodu Bala Sena held a rally calling for reprisals against the Muslims for an alleged attack on a Buddhist monk and his driver by a Muslim youth in the Muslim-dominated Dharga Town in Aluthgama.
The clashes left three dead and scores injured while mobs on both sides have made considerable damage to shops, businesses and common properties.
The envoy told the Council that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured all communities that an impartial inquiry will be held to bring to justice those responsible for the violence, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.
The President has also assured that all damaged properties will be repaired, and has also directed the launch of a special programme supported by the District Secretary and all Government, Semi-Government and Local Authorities to bring the area to normalcy.
The envoy said the Sri Lanka Army is currently in the process of estimating damages to property.
The Ministry of Rehabilitation is conducting its own estimates in a parallel process with the District Secretary. Funds for repairs will be channeled through the Ministry of Rehabilitation, she said.
The Ministries of Social Welfare and Disaster Management are in the process of providing food and resettling the displaced persons.
All those indulging in hate speech will be taken in for questioning, the envoy assured.
Full Statement delivered at the UNHRC session