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Tags Current Affairs

Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 burial ban

Date: 27 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Sri Lanka has reversed its controversial order banning the burial of bodies of those who died of Covid-19.

 

Background

The reversal has come after months of international pressure and protests by Muslim groups, who were against the move.

 

Details

  • Soon after the coronavirus pandemic spread across continents, the Sri Lankan government in April passed an order that banned burials of Covid-19 victims in the country.

  • It came amid concerns by influential Buddhist monks that burials could contaminate groundwater, which several experts dismissed as baseless. Under the order, burials were strictly not allowed, and all bodies were to be cremated.

  • The order, which had been in force since April last year, had been criticised for targeting minorities.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) also said that there was no risk of contamination, and recommended both the burial and cremation of those who died of Covid-19.

 

Controversy

  • The Muslim community numbers are about 11 percent of Sri Lanka’s 2.1 crore population and has had tense relations with the state and with the Sinhala Buddhist majority for much of the last decade.

  • But the tensions have spiked after the synchronised Easter suicide bombings by a group of men and women who proclaimed themselves to be members of ISIS.

  • International Human Rights watchdog Amnesty International had also urged Khan to take up the issue with Sri Lanka during his visit to the country.

 

Implications

  •  Sri Lanka now expects Pakistan’s support at the 46th regular session of the UNHRC, where it is facing a resolution against Human Rights abuse.

  • Sri Lanka had committed at the UNHRC to conduct a time-bound investigation of war crimes that took place during the military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Sri Lanka now faces another resolution at the current session.

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