[JURIST] UN high commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] expressed deep alarm [press release] on Monday over inter-communal violence occurring in Sri Lanka. Violence occurred between Buddhists and Muslims after a rally by the Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) protesting an alleged assault by Muslim youth against a monk at the local temple. Pillay expressed her concern, saying:
The Government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities. … The authorities must immediately bring the perpetrators of such attacks to book and make it clear to the religious leadership on both sides, and to political parties and the general public, that there is no place for inflammatory rhetoric and incitement to violence.
Pillay urged an appropriate response from security forces so as not to compound the violence.
This is the latest example in a string of violence that has occurred in Sri Lanka. In September Pillay urged the country to improve its rights record, noting that hate crimes [JURIST report] have become a regular occurrence in the country as radical religious sects continue to feud. The government has also been accused of commuting war crimes [JURIST report] during its civil war. The country has been uncooperative with the UN in the course of its war crimes investigation.