Sri Lanka: Cremation

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 10 December 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect on (a) Sri Lankan Muslims and (b) other faith communities of the Sri Lankan Government's decision to make cremation mandatory for covid-19 victims.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK Government is concerned about the Government of Sri Lanka's decision to mandate cremations for all those affected by Covid-19, and recognises the particular impact this is having on Sri Lankan Muslims and other faith communities. The Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised concerns about this directly with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner. The UK's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has also raised concerns about mandatory cremations with the Sri Lankan Government, most recently in November.

The UK has shared guidance with the Government of Sri Lanka on how burials can continue to operate in a safe format, within the WHO guidelines, to ensure all religious groups can practise their rites. We will continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka on this important issue.

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