The US State Department says intolerance of, and discrimination against, Muslims by some Buddhists saw an increase in Sri Lanka last year in The International Religious Freedom Report for 2012 released by the US State Department on Monday.
It said, U.S. embassy officials conveyed U.S. government concerns about religious freedom, particularly attacks on churches, to government leaders and urged them to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.
The report which looks at religious freedom, or the lack of it in all countries for 2012, noted that in certain instances, local authorities in Si Lanka failed to respond effectively to communal attacks, including attacks on members of minority religious groups.
The report said that there were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.
The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom. The trend in the government’s respect for religious freedom did not change significantly during the year. In certain instances, local authorities failed to respond effectively to communal attacks, including attacks on members of minority religious groups.
There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Sporadic violent attacks on Christian churches by Buddhists and some societal tension due to ongoing allegations of forced or “unethical” conversions (i.e., the use of bribes to persuade people to convert) continued, although the number and scale of attacks were reportedly fewer than in recent years. Intolerance of, and discrimination against, Muslims by some Buddhists increased during the year.
The ambassador and other embassy officials also met regularly with representatives of all religious groups to review a wide range of human rights, ethnic, and religious freedom concerns. During meetings with religious group leaders, senior U.S. officials discussed religious freedom, including reconciliation efforts and harassment of minority groups. The U.S. embassy supported interfaith efforts to promote a peaceful resolution of the underlying causes of conflict, and the embassy undertook a number of projects promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperative engagement.