UN condemns escalating violence in Sri Lanka

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday condemned the escalating violence in Sri Lanka amid the severe economic and political crisis and urged authorities to prevent further unrest.

She urged restraint and meaningful dialogue to address popular grievances after deadly clashes in the worst violence in weeks of protests.

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“I am deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka after the prime minister’s supporters attacked peaceful protesters in Colombo yesterday May 9 and the subsequent mob violence against members of the ruling party,” Bachelet said in a statement.

“I condemn all violence and call on the authorities to independently, thoroughly and transparently investigate all attacks. It is critical to ensure that those found responsible, including those who incite or organize violence, are held accountable.”

The former Chilean president called on Colombo’s authorities to protect the right to peaceful assembly.

She said authorities should exercise restraint and ensure that measures taken in the state of emergency comply with international human rights standards and are not used to suppress dissent.

Bachelet said the severe economic crisis had made everyday life a struggle for most Sri Lankans, highlighting the grievances that needed a national dialogue and deeper structural reforms.

People of different ethnicities and religions have come together to demand greater transparency, accountability and participation in democratic life, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights added.

“I urge the Sri Lankan government to engage in meaningful dialogue with all segments of society to find a way forward and address the socio-economic challenges facing people, especially vulnerable and marginalized groups. , are confronted,” Bachelet said.

“I call on the government to address the broader political and systemic root causes that have long perpetuated discrimination and undermine human rights.”

She said her office would closely monitor the situation and expressed the hope that Sri Lanka would find a peaceful solution to the crisis to alleviate suffering, strengthen democracy and human rights and prevent further violence.

Supporters of the ruling Rajapaksa family attacked unarmed protesters on Monday who had been demonstrating peacefully for weeks.

Nearly 200 were also injured on Monday when Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned, but that did little to calm public anger.

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