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All par­ties in Sri Lanka should take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to im­me­di­ately stop hate at­tacks to pre­vent the re­cent vi­o­lence from es­ca­lat­ing even fur­ther, the UN said on Tues­day.

In a joint state­ment on Sri Lanka, UN Spe­cial Ad­vi­sor on Pre­ven­tion of Geno­cide, Adama Dieng and UN Spe­cial Ad­vi­sors on Re­spon­si­bil­ity to Pro­tect, Karen Smith said it was in the in­ter­est of all eth­nic and re­li­gious groups in Sri Lanka, as well as the Govern­ment, the op­po­si­tion, civil so­ci­ety and the se­cu­rity sec­tor, to work col­lab­o­ra­tively in tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion and im­me­di­ately stop these hate at­tacks.

“The coun­try is try­ing to move for­ward from a trau­matic pe­riod of in­ter-eth­nic armed con­flict, but the lat­est at­tacks are push­ing Sri Lanka back­wards. If not ad­e­quately dealt with, the re­cent vi­o­lence has the po­ten­tial to es­ca­late even fur­ther,” they said.

Re­call­ing their re­cent state­ments against violent ex­trem­ism and hate speech, the two ad­vi­sors said they were alarmed about the grow­ing acts of vi­o­lence on the ba­sis of re­li­gion, in­clud­ing at­tacks against homes, places of wor­ship and busi­nesses, in the North-west­ern Prov­ince of Sri Lanka.

“The re­cent vi­o­lence in Sri Lanka has high­lighted a grow­ing in­flu­ence of na­tion­al­ist and ex­trem­ist views of iden­tity in the Asia re­gion, put­ting re­li­gious mi­nori­ties at risk,” the UN said.

The Spe­cial Ad­vi­sors ac­knowl­edged and wel­comed the swift re­sponse of the Govern­ment, by de­ploy­ing the se­cu­rity forces to pro­tect af­fected com­mu­ni­ties and ad­dress­ing the spread of false in­for­ma­tion and in­cite­ment to vi­o­lence.

They also en­cour­aged the Govern­ment to make sure that these and other past sim­i­lar at­tacks are fully in­ves­ti­gated and those re­spon­si­ble for in­sti­gat­ing or com­mit­ting these violent acts are brought to jus­tice and made ac­count­able.

They said that the Govern­ment needs to give the ex­am­ple that it will not tol­er­ate the spread of prej­u­dice and hate among groups within its pop­u­la­tion.

“This needs to be done at na­tional and lo­cal level, by put­ting an end to lo­cal dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices that per­pet­u­ate re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance and vi­o­lence,” Mr. Dieng and Ms. Smith also of­fered their sup­port to work with the Govern­ment on in­ter-faith and in­ter­re­li­gious har­mony and in­clu­siv­ity.

The Spe­cial Ad­vi­sors said,“sri Lanka has a plu­ral­is­tic so­ci­ety. To be a Sri Lankan is to be a Bud­dhist, a Hindu, a Mus­lim or a Christian. All these com­mu­ni­ties are en­ti­tled to their iden­tity, to freely ex­er­cise their re­li­gion and to live in peace and se­cu­rity in Sri Lanka, as rec­og­nized by the coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tion. We call on all Sri Lankans to re­spect one an­other”.

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