UN: Sri Lanka’s cremation of COVID victims amounts to a human rights violation

Fatemeh Al-Zahra World Television: The United Nations condemned the Sri Lankan Government’s policy of forced cremation of coronavirus victims, saying it ran contrary to the beliefs of the country’s Muslims and other minority populations.

Ignoring the World Health Organization’s guidelines – which permit burials and cremations – Sri Lanka made cremation mandatory in March last year for people who die, or are suspected to have died, from the coronavirus.

The UN’s human rights experts said on Monday the policy could “foment existing prejudices, intolerance and violence”. “The imposition of cremation as the only option for handling the bodies confirmed or suspected of COVID-19 amounts to a human rights violation,” the experts said in a statement.

Amnesty International also called on authorities to “respect the right of religious minorities to carry out the final rites” according to their own traditions, AlJazeera reported.

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