UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, when asked by Inner City Press, about the letter raising concerns on threats faced by Muslims in Sri Lanka at the hands of Buddhist extremist groups, said that he will need to see if the letter was received.
“We’ll have a look. I think, as we have said many times — either I have said it or colleagues have said — many letters are received, and they are logged. I don’t automatically have immediate knowledge of the letters being received, but when people ask, we check whether they have been,” the UN spokesman said.
Salley had written to the United Nations in March over the threats faced by Muslims as a result of the recent campaign carried out by the Bodu Bala Sena.
Salley, in the letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, said that what’s disturbing is that radical members of the Buddhist clergy are allowed to take the law into their hands, with the enforcers of the law watching from the sidelines.
“After the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam, the Muslims of Sri Lanka have been looking at every opportunity to bring about national unity at a time when the country is in transition. We fail to understand the failure of the government of Sri Lanka in arresting the current trend which if left to go its course ,would spell disaster for the country we call our home,” the letter said.
The Muslim Tamil National Alliance, led by Azath Salley, urged the UN to draw the attention of the Government of Sri Lanka to international standards relevant to the protection and promotion of the rights of minorities.
He said the Government of Sri Lanka has failed to honor, article 2 (1) of the 1981 Declaration of the General Assembly which states that no one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on the grounds of religion or other belief.
The letter, a copy of which has also been sent to the UN Human Rights Council, says the government of Sri Lanka is failing to uphold and is pushing the country towards another holocaust.
“We urge your Excellency to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and the freedom of religion or belief of the various religious communities living in Sri Lanka are respected and protected and ask of the government of Sri Lanka to adopt effective measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts,” the letter sent to the UN Chief said. (Colombo Gazette)