Sri Lanka

House of Lords written question – answered on 9th July 2014.

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Photo of Lord Ahmed Lord Ahmed Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Bodu Bala Sena “Buddhist Power Force” in Sri Lanka.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy Report for 2013, we note that non-governmental organisations documented hundreds of attacks against minority religions, including violence, vandalism, and hate speech in Sri Lanka. We also note that statements by nationalist Buddhist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena, fuelled concern over rising religious tensions.

Our High Commissioner to Colombo has discussed these matters with members of the Government of Sri Lanka. We have encouraged early action to promote peaceful co-existence between all communities, noting the importance of ensuring any acts of violence, intimidation or threats are thoroughly investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Officials from our High Commission in Colombo also met with representatives of the Bodu Bala Sena last year in order to discuss the organisation’s activities and religious tensions in Sri Lanka. During the meeting, British officials expressed concern at attacks directed at Muslim and other minority religious communities.

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