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Respect Burial Rights; Stop Hate Speech Against Muslims: UN Tells Gota

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The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to follow WHO guidelines on the disposal of deceased persons.

Writing to the President, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion said: We would like to encourage your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the provisions in the MoH Guideline by taking into account of the key considerations provided by WHO Guideline for the disposal of the bodies of human beings deceased from the COVID-19, and revise the circular accordingly. In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic it is important that the Government avoids any unnecessary measures that are likely to raise tension and are running contrary to the respect of the fundamental human rights of the persons belonging to different communities that exist in Sri Lanka. Arbitrary decisions concerning the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 may also have the opposite effect to provoking the reluctance of families and communities to report COVID-19 cases in fear that they may be unable ensure proper funeral or burial rites for their loved ones. Ideally, such provisions should be revised in consultation with all the concerned ethnic and religious communities and other relevant health experts and stakeholders.

“We respectfully reiterate the importance that the Government continues to uphold the right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right of the minorities even during this challenging time. The protection of the privacy and identity of the patients or deceased without identifying their ethnicity or religious background in public would prevent their stigmatisation as individuals or member of a specific community.

“We are taking the opportunity to stress that it is equally important that your Excellency’s Government firmly condemn any attempt by anyone, irrespective of status, to issue or spread hate messages that are of a nature to instigate ethnic or religious tensions or violence, including through accusations or blame that any particular ethnic or religious community is responsible for the pandemic of COVID-19.”

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief also ask the President to;

* Clarify the rationale for the decision to limit the method of the disposal of the dead bodies to cremation. Has any consultation been held with relevant health experts, civil society and community members in order to ensure that the decision to prohibit the burial of COVID-19 victims is non-discriminatory, necessary and proportionate to the objective pursued?

* The information if relevant personnel dealing with the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 have been trained or informed to ensure that the close family member of the deceased get to see the body before it is sealed and that they are informed of the cremation of the body well in advance.

* The measures undertaken to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities, are not discriminated against in the implementation of this MoH Guideline and that their right to freedom of religion or belief with regard to burial rites and practices is upheld and respected.

* The information on the steps taken to tackle potential rise in hate speech against Muslims and other ethnic or religious minorities in Sri Lanka, including by protecting the identity of the COVID-19 patients or deceased?

We publish below the letter in full:

PALAIS DES NATIONS • 1211 GENEVA 10, SWITZERLAND

Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

REFERENCE: AL LKA 2/20208

April 2020

Excellency,

We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 40/10, 42/16, 34/6 and 40/16.

In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the circular by the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka providing standard guidance on the autopsy practice and the disposal of COVID-19 related dead body.

According to the information received:

In March 2020, the Ministry of Health published Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients (MoH Guideline). This circular includes a chapter on the autopsy practice and the disposal of dead bodies.

Up till the third version of the MoH Guideline published on 27 March 2020, it was provided that a body related to death either confirmed (Category I) or suspected (Category II & III) of COVID-19, should be disposed within 24 hours (preferably within 12 hours) according to the guidance listed below:

• The body should never be washed under any circumstance.

• Cremation or burial is allowed. However, burial is allowed provided that all steps to prevent contact with body [are] ensured.

• The body has to be placed in an airtight sealed body bag and a sealed coffin.

• The grave should have a depth of 6 feet (deep burial). It should not contaminate with ground water.

• The grave should be identifiable and traceable.

• The disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspector.

• The police and other government agencies must follow the legal aspect and their procedures.

However, on 31 March 2020, the Ministry of Health amended the Guideline and the fourth version with the amendments provided that a body related to death either confirmed (Category I) or suspected (Category II & III) of COVID-19, should be cremated within 24 hours (preferably within 12 hours) according to the guidance listed below:

• The body should never be washed under any circumstance.

• The body has to be placed in a sealed body bag and a coffin.

• Exclusive cremation.

• The disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspector.

We understand that this fourth amendment of the MoH Guideline came following the cremation of a COVID-19 victim of a Muslim community on 31 March 2020 in Negombo, without consultation with and against the wishes of his family. We are concerned that the amendment is inconsistent with the Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19 guideline provided by World Health Organisation (WHO Guideline). Furthermore, we are concerned of the lack of consideration provided and the lack of sensitivity in the MoH Guideline to different communities and their religious and cultural practices.

We recognize that the pandemic of COVID-19 has posed serious public health challenges and that there is a need to take various factors into consideration in making sure the spread of COVID-19 is contained. While the reasons for the decision of the Ministry of Health to make such amendment have not been communicated, and do not seem to have been decided with any consultation with the relevant communities, we would like to stress that the legitimacy for such amendments should be based on the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination. Indeed, when cultural or religious sensitivities are involved, an inclusive and participatory dialogue or consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the civil society and different ethnic or religious communities must be conducted before a decision is taken. Such a participatory approach and clear communication to all stakeholders of the steps taken and the reasons for taking such steps, are also more likely to increase public confidence in such measures and minimise public disquiet over such restrictions.

In this regard we would like to bring specific attention to the following:

1. Method of the disposal of dead body- Under the section on Burial, WHO Guideline provides that people who have died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated. Under the section on Burial by family members or for deaths at home, it further indicated that in contexts where mortuary services are not standard or reliably available, or where it is usual for ill people to die at home, families and traditional burial attendants can be equipped and educated to bury people under supervision. Besides, the WHO Guideline clearly outlined that one of the key considerations is to avoid hasty disposal of a dead from COVID-19.

2. Handling of the dead body- MoH Guideline instructed that the dead body should never be washed under any circumstance and that the body has to be placed in a sealed body bag and in coffin. WHO Guideline does not preclude that a person such as family member or religious leader can prepare the deceased that involved washing, cleaning or dressing body, tidying hair, trimming nails or shaving. It only instructed the necessary safety and health precautions to be taken when any person decided to do so according to their customs or religious rites. It also allows for cloth wrapping.

3. Viewing of body- WHO Guideline also provided that the family wishes only to view the body may do so, as long as the family is given clear instructions not to touch or kiss the body and to use standard precautions at all times. It was furthermore indicated that family and friends may view the body after it has been prepared for burial, in accordance with customs.

By contrast, the MoH Guideline allows the viewing of the body only by close relative/s in a pre-designated area in hospital and it forbids viewing after the body is sealed. Even with this provision in place, some family members of deceased allegedly did not get to see the body before the cremation took place. This has reportedly created a lot of stress to the deceased’s family.

4. Sensitivity to local, customary and religious practices – WHO Guideline has highlighted that the dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions, and their families should be respected and protected throughout. It was advised the need to apply principles of cultural sensitivity or to handle the burial or dead body in accordance with customs while ensuring standard precautions are followed at all time.

We recommend that attention be given in the MoH Guideline to existing cultural and religious sensitivity or traditions in the country. Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protects everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The Human Rights Committee in its General Comment 22 paragraph 4 advises that the freedom to manifest religion or belief may be exercised “either individually or in community with others and in public or private”. It elaborates that the freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching encompasses a broad range of acts and the concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including ritual formulae or ceremonial acts.

While the manifestation of religion or belief may be restricted as per Article 18(3) of the ICCPR, to protect public safety, order, health, morals and the fundamental rights and freedoms of others any such limitation must fulfil a number of obligatory criteria including being non-disriminatory in intent or effect and constituting the least restrictive measure. Even in the face of overwhelming public necessity that falls on one or more of the five grounds for permissble limitations noted in Article 18(3), if there is a less restrictive measure, a greater interfernce with the right to manifest one’s beliefs will not be permissible. Given that the WHO Guideline does not discard burial, albeit under specific conditions for the preparation of the body, as one of two means for the disposal of the body, prohibiting burial would not be permissible according to the ICCPR.

Article 27 of ICCPR provides that “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.” The 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities also emphasised that persons belonging to minorities have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely, without any interference or any form of discrimination (article 2.1), and persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life (article 2.2). Moreover, States are required to ensure that persons belonging to minorities may exercise their human rights without discrimination and in full equality before the law (article 4.1) and create favourable conditions to enable persons belonging to minorities to express their characteristics and to develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs (article 4.2).

In conclusion, we would like to encourage your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the provisions in the MoH Guideline by taking into account of the key considerations provided by WHO Guideline for the disposal of the bodies of human beings deceased from the COVID-19, and revise the circular accordingly. In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic it is important that the Government avoids any unnecessary measures that are likely to raise tension and are running contrary to the respect of the fundamental human rights of the persons belonging to different communities that exist in Sri Lanka. Arbitrary decisions concerning the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 may also have the opposite effect to provoking the reluctance of families and communities to report COVID-19 cases in fear that they may be unable ensure proper funeral or burial rites for their loved ones. Ideally, such provisions should be revised in consultation with all the concerned ethnic and religious communities and other relevant health experts and stakeholders.

We respectfully reiterate the importance that the Government continues to uphold the right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right of the minorities even during this challenging time. The protection of the privacy and identity of the patients or deceased without identifying their ethnicity or religious background in public would prevent their stigmatisation as individuals or member of a specific community.

We are taking the opportunity to stress that it is equally important that your Excellency’s Government firmly condemn any attempt by anyone, irrespective of status, to issue or spread hate messages that are of a nature to instigate ethnic or religious tensions or violence, including through accusations or blame that any particular ethnic or religious community is responsible for the pandemic of COVID-19.

The full texts of the human rights instruments and standards recalled above are available on www.ohchr.org or can be provided upon request.

As it is our responsibility, under the mandates provided to us by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention, we would be grateful for your observations on the following matters:

1. Please provide any additional information and any comment you may have on the above-mentioned allegations and concerns.

2. Please provide the rationale for the decision to limit the method of the disposal of the dead bodies to cremation. Has any consultation been held with relevant health experts, civil society and community members in order to ensure that the decision to prohibit the burial of COVID-19 victims is non-discriminatory, necessary and proportionate to the objective pursued?

3. Please provide information if relevant personnel dealing with the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 have been trained or informed to ensure that the close family member of the deceased get to see the body before it is sealed and that they are informed of the cremation of the body well in advance.

4. Please indicate the measures undertaken to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities, are not discriminated against in the implementation of this MoH Guideline and that their right to freedom of religion or belief with regard to burial rites and practices is upheld and respected.

5. Please provide information on the steps taken to tackle potential rise in hate speech against Muslims and other ethnic or religious minorities in Sri Lanka, including by protecting the identity of the COVID-19 patients or deceased?

This communication, as a comment on pending or recently adopted legislation, regulations or policies, and any response received from your Excellency’s Government will be made public via the communications reporting website within 48 hours. They will also subsequently be made available in the usual report to be presented to the Human Rights Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Ahmed Shaheed

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/respect-burial-rights-stop-hate-speech-against-muslims-un-tells-gota/

 

Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate COVID-19 victims

Rights group and activists accuse gov't of forcing cremation of Muslim COVID-19 victims in disregard to WHO guidelines.

The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites.

Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73-year- old  man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19, was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far.

Bishrul's son Fayaz Joonus, 46, said his father who had a kidney disorder tested positive for the virus about two weeks ago. He died on April 1 and was cremated the following day.

Fayaz said they could not perform congregational funeral prayers, called the Janazah, for his father due to fear of infections.

"My father was taken in a vehicle under the supervision of the police force and was cremated. We did some prayers outside the morgue, but it was not a Janazah that us Muslim typically do," Fayaz told Al Jazeera.

"The government needs to make arrangements for us Muslims to be able to bury our loved ones in accordance with our Islamic burial rites."

 

"If there is an option of burial, our government should accommodate. Cremation is not the only option, we want to bury our loved ones as per the Islamic way," he told Al Jazeera.

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health on Tuesday issued COVID-19 guidelines saying the standard procedure of disposing bodies should be cremation. It reversed an earlier guideline that allowed traditional Muslim burial.

It also said the body should not be washed and placed in a sealed bag and a coffin, as against the Islamic practice of washing the body.

Amnesty calls on authorities to stop forced cremation

Muslim leaders and activists have pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) allows both burial or cremation for people dying due to the pandemic.

Prominent lawyer Ali Sabry said in a Facebook post that he was disappointed with authorities' decision to cremate bodies of Muslims, as it was in disregard to the WHO guidelines, which say that a body can be either buried or cremated.

Out of the four people who died due to COVID-19, two were Muslims. The cremation of Muslims has caused anguish in the community.

"The Muslim community sees this as a racist agenda of extremist Buddhist forces that seem to hold the government to ransom," Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, told Al Jazeera.

"The guidelines issued by the WHO is practised by Britain, most of the European countries, Singapore, Hong Kong and all the Muslim nations [except for Sri Lanka]," he told Al Jazeera.

Amnesty International has also called on authorities to "respect the right of religious minorities to carry out the final rites" according to their own traditions.

"At this difficult time, the authorities should be bringing communities together and not deepening divisions between them," Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

"Grieving relatives of people who have died because of COVID-19 should be able to bid farewell to their loved ones in the way that they wish, especially where this is permissible under international guidelines."

Muslims account for 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 21 million population. But their relationship with the majority Sinhala Buddhists deteriorated in the years after the end of civil war in 2009 during which hardline Buddhist groups were blamed for several attacks against Muslims' businesses and places of worship.

Following the deadly attacks in April 2019 that killed more than 250 people, Muslims have faced increased hostility from the Sinhala majority.

A little-known Muslim organisation was blamed for the island nation's worst attack since the civil war fought between the government forces and the Tamil separatist fighters.

"This is just to hurt the feelings of the minority," Azath Salley, leader of the National Unity Alliance political party and the former governor of Western province, told Al Jazeera.

'Anti-Islamic sentiments'

The method of the disposal of the body has become a big talking point in the country, with a section of the media accused of running "anti-Muslim hysteria" and pointing fingers at Muslims for the spread of the virus.

Nalaka Gunawadenne, a media analyst said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very disturbing and disheartening to see anti-Islamic sentiments and anti-Muslim hate speech "raise their ugly head again in Sri Lanka".

“This is national and global emergency shared by all humans, and not a time highlighting our cultural divisions. The coronavirus does not care about our ethnic or religious differences. We need to fear the virus - not each other - and unite in containing and battling the disease." he told Al Jazeera.

Government officials from the health services department did not respond to repeated calls from Al Jazeera for comment.

Meanwhile, Fayaz, who is in a makeshift quarantine centers in Punani in the eastern province, said he did not inform his mother of his father's death and cremation.

"She has heart disease and we don't want to risk it. She won't be able to bear it."

Both & racism are killer contagions, that sicken anyone who catches them. Ironically, we lock down on one, but open floodgates to the other. Only way to save us is to improve immunity to them, as individuals and a nation. media should responsibly help the recovery.

207 people are talking about this

Now 's Hon. Politicians are trying to protect their baby rather than trying to protect the country or nations from .

This is very clear, this is only the option to sustain their career if they protect baby.

Shame!

View image on Twitter

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/anguish-sri-lanka-forces-muslims-cremate-covid-19-victims-200403053706048.html

 

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ඊයේ දින ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත. නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත.නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. එවැනි ‌‌‌‌ද‌ේවලින් උසිගැන්‌ව‌ෙන පිරිසක් සිදුවීම්වල පිටුපස තිබෙන කූට අරමුණු සහ ‌‌ද‌ේශපාලනය ‌තේරුම්‌ග‌ෙන ‌හ‌ෝ ‌‌නොගෙන ඒ පිටුපස යමින් ජාතිවාදය වපුරයි. සෑම ජන‌‌කොටසකම ජාතීවාදීන් සිටියි. අන්‍ය ආගමිකයින් ‌කෙරෙහි ‌අකමැත්තක් දක්වන අය සිටියි. ‌‌කලින් කලට ඔවුන් විවිධ සිදුවීම පදනම් කරගෙන එක් එක් ප්‍රශ්න ඇති කිරීමට සහ එමඟින් විවිධ ප්‍රයෝජන ලබා ගැනීමටත් උත්සාහ කරයි. එවැනි අවස්ථාවක ඒවා පාලනය කිරීම සඳහා රජයේ වගකීම ‌‌‌වේ. එම තත්ත්වය පාලනය කිරීමට, ජන ‌‌කොටස් අතර ‌බෙදීම් ඇති කරන මතවාද පතුරවන විට ඒවාට එරෙහිව කියාමාරග ගැනීම රජයේ වගකීමයි. රජය එය නිසි ‌ලෙස සිදු ‌‌‌නොකරන අවස්ථාවක සමාජ මතවාද ‌ගොඩ නඟමින් තත්ත්වය ‌හොඳ පැත්තකට හරවීමට බද්ධිමත් උගත් පිරිස කටයුතු කළ යුතුයි. නමුත් ලංකාවේ සිදුවන්නේ එයට හාත්පසින් ‌‌වෙනස් ‌දෙයකි. ‌‌බොහෝ උගතුත් ද, උසස් නතතුරු දරන අය ද, ඒ රැල්ලට හසු වී ‌ඒවා තව තවත් වර්ධනය වීමට දායක වීමයි. එබැවින් මා කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ ආගමෙන් ‌‌වෙනස් වුනත් අපිත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෝ ‌වෙමු. ඔබට තිබෙන සෑම අයිතියක්ම සෑම අයුරකින්ම අපටත් ඇත. අපේ හැඟීම්වලටත් ගරු කරන්න. අපි බුදු රජානන් වහන්සේට බුද්ධාගමට බනින්නේ නැත. අගෙ‍ෳරව කරන්නේ නැත. ඒ වගේ අපි අදහන අල්ලාහ් ‌‌දෙවියන්ට අපි අනුගමනය කරන නබි තුමාට අපහාස කරන්න ‌එපා. එවැනි අදහස් ඇති පළකිරීම් සමාජ මාධ්‍ය ඔස්සේ ‌බෙදා ගන්න එපා. අපි කිසිවිටක සිංහල සමාජයත් එක්ක තරහ නැත. අපි හැමවිටම උත්සාහ කරන්නේ සිිංහල සමාජයත් එකට ජීවත් වීමටයි. ‌ගත වූ දශකය තුළ සිදුවූ සිදුවිම්වලින් පසුව මුස්ලිම් සමාජයේ සිටින විද්වතුන් මුස්ලිම්වරු අතර පවතින ආකල්ප ‌ව‌ෙනස් කිරීමටත් සැබෑ සංහිදියාවක් ඇති කිරීමටත් උත්සාහ කරමින් සිටියි. අතිබහුතර සිංහල සමාජය තුළ ජාතිවාදය නැත. නමුත් ‌මෙවැනි මාධ්‍ය සහ පළ කිරීම නිතර නිතර ඇසෙන විට ඔවුනුත් ‌‌මොහොතකට ‌හෝ දැනුවත්ව ‌හෝ ‌නොදැනුවත්ව ජාතිවාදීන් වීමේ ප්‍රවණතාවය වැඩිව‌ෙමින් පවතියි. නති සිංහල පතන ‌ගෙන ආ ‌‌වේලාවේ රැල්ලට හසුව් උගත් නුගත් සියලුදෙනා සහාය පළ කළා. නමුත් අන්තිමට සිදු වුනේ කුමක් ද? එයින් සිංහල සහ ‌දෙමළ ජනක ‌කොටස් අතර ඇති වූ පරතරය දශක කිහිපයක් තිස්‌සේ ටික ටික වර්ධනය වී රට ‌බෙදීමේ යුද්ධයක් දක්වා වර්ධනය විය. අන්තිමට ‌දෙපැත්තේම විශාල පිරිසක ජීවිතය අහිමි වුනා.එවැනි තත්ත්වයක් ඇති කිරීමට 1980 අසූව දශකයතුල අප‌ේ

ඊය‌ේ ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත. නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි.
ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත.

නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. එවැනි ‌‌‌‌ද‌ේවලින් උසිගැන්‌ව‌ෙන පිරිසක් සිදුවීම්වල පිටුපස තිබෙන කූට අරමුණු සහ ‌‌ද‌ේශපාලනය ‌තේරුම්‌ග‌ෙන ‌හ‌ෝ ‌‌නොගෙන ඒ පිටුපස යමින් ජාතිවාදය වපුරයි.

සෑම ජන‌‌කොටසකම ජාතීවාදීන් සිටියි. අන්‍ය ආගමිකයින් ‌කෙරෙහි ‌අකමැත්තක් දක්වන අය සිටියි. ‌‌කලින් කලට ඔවුන් විවිධ සිදුවීම පදනම් කරගෙන එක් එක් ප්‍රශ්න ඇති කිරීමට සහ එමඟින් විවිධ ප්‍රයෝජන ලබා ගැනීමටත් උත්සාහ කරයි. එවැනි අවස්ථාවක ඒවා පාලනය කිරීම සඳහා රජයේ වගකීම ‌‌‌වේ.
එම තත්ත්වය පාලනය කිරීමට, ජන ‌‌කොටස් අතර ‌බෙදීම් ඇති කරන මතවාද පතුරවන විට ඒවාට එරෙහිව කියාමාරග ගැනීම රජයේ වගකීමයි.
රජය එය නිසි ‌ලෙස සිදු ‌‌‌නොකරන අවස්ථාවක සමාජ මතවාද ‌ගොඩ නඟමින් තත්ත්වය ‌හොඳ පැත්තකට හරවීමට බද්ධිමත් උගත් පිරිස කටයුතු කළ යුතුයි.

නමුත් ලංකාවේ සිදුවන්නේ එයට හාත්පසින් ‌‌වෙනස් ‌දෙයකි. ‌‌බොහෝ උගතුත් ද, උසස් නතතුරු දරන අය ද, ඒ රැල්ලට හසු වී ‌ඒවා තව තවත් වර්ධනය වීමට දායක වීමයි.
එබැවින් මා කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ ආගමෙන් ‌‌වෙනස් වුනත් අපිත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෝ ‌වෙමු. ඔබට තිබෙන සෑම අයිතියක්ම සෑම අයුරකින්ම අපටත් ඇත. අපේ හැඟීම්වලටත් ගරු කරන්න. අපි බුදු රජානන් වහන්සේට බුද්ධාගමට බනින්නේ නැත. අගෙ‍ෳරව කරන්නේ නැත. ඒ වගේ අපි අදහන අල්ලාහ් ‌‌දෙවියන්ට අපි අනුගමනය කරන නබි තුමාට අපහාස කරන්න ‌එපා. එවැනි අදහස් ඇති පළකිරීම් සමාජ මාධ්‍ය ඔස්සේ ‌බෙදා ගන්න එපා.
අපි කිසිවිටක සිංහල සමාජයත් එක්ක තරහ නැත. අපි හැමවිටම උත්සාහ කරන්නේ සිිංහල සමාජයත් එකට ජීවත් වීමටයි. ‌ගත වූ දශකය තුළ සිදුවූ සිදුවිම්වලින් පසුව මුස්ලිම් සමාජයේ සිටින විද්වතුන් මුස්ලිම්වරු අතර පවතින ආකල්ප ‌ව‌ෙනස් කිරීමටත් සැබෑ සංහිදියාවක් ඇති කිරීමටත් උත්සාහ කරමින් සිටියි. අතිබහුතර සිංහල සමාජය තුළ ජාතිවාදය නැත. නමුත් ‌මෙවැනි මාධ්‍ය සහ පළ කිරීම නිතර නිතර ඇසෙන විට ඔවුනුත් ‌‌මොහොතකට ‌හෝ දැනුවත්ව ‌හෝ ‌නොදැනුවත්ව ජාතිවාදීන් වීමේ ප්‍රවණතාවය වැඩිව‌ෙමින් පවතියි.
නති සිංහල පතන ‌ගෙන ආ ‌‌වේලාවේ රැල්ලට හසුව් උගත් නුගත් සියලුදෙනා සහාය පළ කළා. නමුත් අන්තිමට සිදු වුනේ කුමක් ද? එයින් සිංහල සහ ‌දෙමළ ජනක ‌කොටස් අතර ඇති වූ පරතරය දශක කිහිපයක් තිස්‌සේ ටික ටික වර්ධනය වී රට ‌බෙදීමේ යුද්ධයක් දක්වා වර්ධනය විය. අන්තිමට ‌දෙපැත්තේම විශාල පිරිසක ජීවිතය අහිමි වුනා.
එවැනි තත්ත්වයක් ඇති කිරීමට 1980 දශකයතුල අප‌ේ යුද හමුදාවටත් ‌කොටි සංවිධානයටත් එකම කඳවුරක් තුළ පුහුුණුව ලබා දුන් උදවිය ඉතා උවමනාවෙන් බලා සිටියි.
එවැනි ‌දෙයක් කිසිවිටක ‌නොවේවා.

මෙයට
අනස් හුසෙයින්

   

Coronavirus toll in New York state passes 1,000: Live updates

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00:50 GMT - Death toll in New York state surpasses 1,000

More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in New York state, according to a tally by The Associated Press  (AP) news agency.

On Sunday evening, New York City said its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths is not expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities was at least 1,026, AP said.

00:30 GMT - China reports 31 new cases in mainland

The number of COVID-19 infections in China continues to slow with health authorities in Beijing reporting 31 new cases at the end of Sunday.

The figure includes one locally transmitted infection and marks a drop from the 45 cases reported a day earlier. There were no new cases for a sixth consecutive day in central Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected in December last year. 

In mainland China, the total number of cases to date rose to 81,470 in the mainland, while the cumulative death toll increased to 3,304.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/death-toll-york-state-passes-1000-live-updates-200329234257896.html

US President Donald Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30 after a top health official warned more than 100,000 people could die from the coronavirus in the United States.

The announcement on Sunday evening came as the death toll in hard-hit New York state passed 1,000.

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks," Trump told reporters at the White House. "Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it's very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines ... We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread."

The initial 15-day period had been due to expire on Monday.

The US has 139,000 confirmed infections from the coronavirus, more than any other country in the world, while more than 2,400 people have died from the respiratory illness caused by the pathogen.

Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 718,000. Some 149,000 people have recovered, and more than 33,000 have died.

Here are all the latest updates:

Monday, March 30

06:30 GMT - EasyJet grounds fleet, furloughs cabin crew for two months

British low cost airline easyJet said it had grounded its entire fleet and reached a deal with its cabin crew for employees to be furloughed for two months under a government job retention scheme.

The airline said that its entire fleet of over 300 aircraft was parked up and there was no certainty for the date of restarting commercial flights.

EasyJet said that under a deal with Unite, the union which represents its cabin crew, they would not work for two months from April 1 and will be paid 80 percent of their average pay under the government job retention scheme.

06:00 GMT - Guatemalan deported from US tests positive

A Guatemalan man who was deported from the US last week has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a spokeswoman for the Guatemalan health ministry.

The 29-year-old man was deported last Thursday on a flight chartered by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The flight, with at least 40 others on board, originated in Mesa, Arizona, according to the Guatemalan Migration Institute.

Read more on this story here.

A curfew to combat the spread of the virus in Guatemala has been extended until April 12.

05:50 GMT - Nepal extends lockdown until April 7

The government of Nepal extended a nationwide lockdown put in place on March 23 by another week. International flights will also be banned until April 15.

The Himalayan country has recorded a total of five infections from the new coronavirus.

05:35 GMT - Japan to 'ban all travellers from US, China, Europe'

All visitors from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe will be denied entry to Japan under new rules to curb coronavirus infections, according to the Asahi newspaper.

Citing government sources, Asahi said Japan's foreign ministry is expected to also advise Japanese nationals to refrain from travelling to those countries.

05:00 GMT - India lockdown hits chronic patients hard

Strict restrictions on movement in India has hampered access to healthcare for people with chronic illnesses such as HIV, kidney and autoimmune diseases.

One 15-year-old HIV patient's parents walked 32km to obtain her medication in New Delhi.

"We could quickly be facing a non-COVID humanitarian crisis if the government fails to act to restore health services, particularly for those with critical conditions that require sustained medication/treatment," said Malini Aisola, public health activist and co-convenor of the All India Drug Action Network.

04:51 GMT - Australia tightens curbs on public gatherings

New rules limiting public gatherings to just two people in Australia will come into effect at midnight on Monday, with the states of New South Wales and Victoria introducing hefty fines for people violating those restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said members of the public should leave their house only to buy food, attend medical appointments and for exercise.

Skate parks, outdoor gyms and public playgrounds across the country, he said.

04:20 GMT - Fears of a second wave of infections in China

Concern of a second wave of infections is growing in China amid official pressure to resume normal life, according to Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu.

"In Wuhan, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak, some shops are open, and malls are starting to open their doors after two months. People who work in essential industries, such as the cement, steel and car industries, are also starting to go back to work," Yu said from Beijing.

Our correspondent said officials are under "tremendous pressure to resume normal life" with President Xi Jinping travelling on Sunday to a port and an industrial park in eastern Zhejiang Province to inspect the resumption of work and production there.

"He wants to get the economy going after two months at a standstill. And because of this urgency to get things going, there are fears it may be too soon and could result in a second wave of infections," she said. "Officials are also under pressure to keep numbers down, and that's causing fears they may not be transparent when it comes to reporting new cases."

02:00 GMT - Argentina extends quarantine

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez extended a nationwide quarantine until mid-April to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

"We are going to extend the quarantine until the end of Easter. What do we aim to achieve? To keep the transmission of the virus under control," he said in a televised message.

The mandatory measures were due to expire at the end of March. The lockdown will be lifted on April 12.
Argentina has 820 confirmed cases and 20 deaths from COVID-19.

01:40 GMT - South Korea reports 78 new cases; total at 9,661

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 78 new cases in South Korea on Monday, down from 105 confirmed infections a day earlier.

The figure brings South Korea's total infections to 9,661.

The KCDC said the new cases marked the 18th consecutive day that new infections hovered about 100 or fewer additional cases.

01:30 GMT - Japanese comedian dies

Ken Shimura, one of Japan's best-known comedians, died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Tokyo, according to the public broadcaster NHK.

He was 70 years old. Many fans took to social media to pay tribute.

 

Iran urges US to free Iranian prisoners amid coronavirus pandemic

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Iran's government has urged the United States to release Iranians held in US jails on sanctions-related issues due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said under these circumstances they should be set free.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 2,378 on Friday, a jump of 144. Iran is one of the worst hit countries in the world.

Zarif also referred to a report by The Guardian newspaper about Sirous Asgari, a science professor, who it said was still being held in a crowded facility after being acquitted in November on US federal charges of stealing trade secrets.

"US has taken several Iranian scientists hostage - without charge or on spurious sanctions charges - & not releasing them; even when its OWN courts reject the absurd charges," Zarif tweeted.

On Thursday, the US blacklisted five Iran and Iraq-based companies and 15 individuals accused of supporting "terrorist groups", its third round of sanctions on Iranian targets in the last two weeks even as Tehran battles the coronavirus outbreak.

Humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 international agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

However, broader US sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran.

Earlier, Iran's health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 144 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 2,378, while the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 2,926 to 32,332.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/iran-urges-free-iranian-prisoners-coronavirus-pandemic-200327153011806.html

   

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