Sri Lanka lastly lifts ban on burial of COVID victims

AP 20346454001912

Controversial ban imposed since March final yr lifted after months of protests by Muslim and rights teams.

The Sri Lankan authorities has lifted a controversial ban on the burial of our bodies of individuals whose deaths have been brought on by the COVID-19 illness, a well being ministry spokesman mentioned.

The ban was lifted on Friday after months of protests primarily by Muslim teams and worldwide stress.

In March final yr, the federal government imposed laws that mentioned the our bodies of COVID-19 victims might solely be cremated.

The rules banned burial, saying the virus might unfold by contaminating groundwater.

But Muslim teams insisted the federal government’s resolution had no scientific base and needed the ban lifted as cremating a physique went in opposition to their Islamic religion.

On Wednesday, Muslim parliamentarians urged Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who was visiting the nation to take up the problem with the Sri Lankan political leaders.

The chairperson of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, additionally referred to the problem in her assertion on the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

“The policy of forced cremation of COVID-19 victims has caused pain and distress to the minority Muslim and Christian communities,” she mentioned.

Muslim teams on Tuesday additionally held a big protest exterior the president’s workplace calling for the ban on the burials to be lifted.

The World Health Organization and Sri Lankan medical doctors’ teams had mentioned COVID-19 victims can both be buried or cremated.

Sri Lanka has witnessed 459 deaths as a result of coronavirus, with greater than 82,000 folks testing optimistic since January final yr.

The island nation is a predominantly Buddhist nation the place it’s customary for Buddhists and Hindus, the second-largest non secular group, to cremate the useless.

Muslims account for about 10 % of the nation’s inhabitants of 21 million.