The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has raised concerns over the discrimination of Muslims by local authorities in facilitating commercial activities.
The HRCSL, writing to all Commissioners of local Government Authorities, said it has come to the attention of the Commission that in certain areas, members of the Muslim community who are lawfully engaged in commercial activities have been banned from using public premises for such purposes after the violent attacks of 21 April.
“We are informed that access to such premises (such as kiosks in weekly village fairs) has been denied even though the occupants had duly registered with local authorities and had paid due fees,” the Commission Chairperson Dr. Deepika Udagama wrote.
Such discriminatory action amounts to a violation of Article 12 of the Constitution which guarantees non-discrimination on the basis of religion and also equal protection of the law. It is the function of the Commission under its parent statute, Act. No. 2l of 1996, to investigate and inquire into such allegations.
“Therefore, please be good enough to submit a report to the Commission by 10 June (a) on information on any such complaints received and action taken by local authorities coming under your purview and (b) whether you can be satisfied that citizens of all communities residing in your Province enjoy the right to engage in commercial activities without discrimination by local authorities,” the HRCSL has informed the local government authorities.