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Commission raises concerns over discrimination against Muslims

Graphic: A local market in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Commission has written to local governments about potential discrimination against Muslims that has prevented some from running their businesses.

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has raised concerns over alleged discrimination against Muslims, which has prevented some members of the community from running their businesses.

The Commission has written to all Commissioners of Local Government Authorities to request a report on information or complaints they may have received.

"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 2019," Dr Deepika Udagama wrote.

"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," she added.

"Such discriminatory action amounts to a violation of Article 12 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, which guarantees non-discrimination on the basis of religion and also equal protection of the law."

The Commission requested local government authorities to submit a report on any such complaints they may have received and subsequent action they took.

In addition, the Commission requested the local government authorities to guarantee that they were satisfied that citizens of all communities residing in their provinces enjoy the right to engage in commercial activities without discrimination.

Date: 5 June 2019

Source: Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

Image credits

  1. A local market in Colombo, Sri Lanka - Francisco Anzola, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2KwFbfn