UK raises concerns with Sri Lanka on forced cremations

The United Kingdom (UK) has raised concerns on forced cremations with the Government of Sri Lanka.

The UK Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon said he had highlighted the impact of forced cremations continuing in Sri Lanka.

Many, including the Opposition and public have raised repeated concerns over the forced cremations of Muslim Covid victims in Sri Lanka. The matter was raised in Parliament by the Opposition, while many protests were held near the Borella cemetery after the forced cremation of a 21-day old infant.

However, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi announced in Parliament recently that the stance of the Expert Committee to study the issue remains unchanged, and the remains of Covid victims will be cremated as per the health guidelines.

Commenting on the matter, Lord Tariq Ahmad said he raised concerns on the forced cremations of COVID-19 victims in Sri Lanka, including on faith groups, justice and accountability in this regard.

He said attention was focused on the matter ahead of the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session.

Discussions were held in this regard during a telephone conversation between Lord Tariq Ahmad and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena today.

The UK Minister of State for South Asia and Human Rights also announced that the UK and Sri Lanka are collaborating on climate change and trade.