Compulsory cremation of COVID-19 bodies cannot continue, say UN experts

Compulsory cremation of COVID-19 bodies cannot continue, say UN experts

Compulsory cremation of COVID-19 bodies cannot continue, say UN experts

Written by Staff Writer

26 Jan, 2021 | 8:30 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): UN Human Rights experts have urged the Sri Lankan government to end its policy of mandatory cremation of individuals who die of COVID-19 in the country.

“Forcibly cremating individuals who die of COVID-19 is contrary to the beliefs of certain minorities including Muslims in Sri Lanka,” 4 UN Rapporteurs said in a statement.

The statement noted said the imposition of cremation as the only option for handling the bodies confirmed or suspected of COVID-19 amounts to a human rights violation.

“There has been no established scientific evidence in any country that burial of dead bodies leads to increased risk of spreading communicable diseases such as COVID-19,” it added.

The rapporteurs said: “Such hostility against the minorities exacerbates existing prejudices, intercommunal tensions, and religious intolerance, sowing fear and distrust while inciting further hatred and violence.”

The statement had been published by the office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, citing UN rapporteurs Ahmed Shaheed, Fernand de Varennes, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, and Tlaleng Mofokeng.

Speaking about the matter Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Keheliya
Rambukwella said the stance of the President and the Cabinet remains intact.

“We follow the recommendations of health authorities. In case we deviate from those and move forward, we will be responsible if things take a turn for the worse,” the Cabinet Spokesperson added.

Latest News