Monday July 23, 2018

US-based Rohingya support group commends Sri Lanka ministers

Oct 01, 2017 15:50 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - A US-based organisation supporting the cause of Rohingya have welcomed comments by two Sri Lankan ministers who condemned last week's violence directed against a UN safe house for 31 refugees near Colombo.

The Burma Task Force said the 31 Rohingya who had been drifting off Sri Lanka's northern coast five months ago had fled their refugee camp in Tamil Nadu after it was burnt down by nationalists.

Sri Lanka's navy rescued the 31, including 16 children, and cared for them till recently when they were transferred by courts to the protection of the UNHCR pending their resettlement in a third country.

A mob led by radical Buddhist monks stormed their UN protected refugee centre at Mount Lavinia on Tuesday prompting the authorities to evacuate them to a safer location at Boossa in Galle.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera have condemned the actions of Buddhist monks and urged police to take stern action against them for unleashing violence on innocent refugees.

"The Burma Task Force also applauds the strong and clear condemnation issued by the Sri Lankan Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, as well as by the cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, who correctly stated that such mob behaviour cannot be justified in any way.

"It was constructive that they framed their condemnation of violence in Buddhist terms. They also called for measures against the police that failed to protect the refugees."

Imam Malik Mujahid of Burma Task Force said it was heartening to hear strong words of high government officials in Sri Lanka and he thanked them.

"Sri Lankan authorities must make every effort to contain the spread of hate movements, which in the past have developed ties to military leaders in Sri Lanka as well as in Myanmar," he said.

He requested the government to find more appropriate accommodation for the 31 Rohingya who are currently being held at the Boossa detention centre. (COLOMBO, Oct 1, 2017)


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