Months after facing international criticism over the ‘forced cremation of Covid-19 victims’, Sri Lanka has now revised a controversial arrangement that deprives Muslims of the island nation’s right to bury their loved ones. Since last year in April when Sri Lanka recorded its first Covid case, the government has cited the opinion of experts and has mandated the cremation of Covid-19 victims.
Even as the World Health Organization has clarified that the bodies of Covid-19 victims can be ‘buried or cremated’, Sri Lanka is enforcing its decision on cremation, as the government further claims that ‘the burial of Covid-19 victims will pollute the surface of the water. then will spread the pandemic. ‘
Many rights groups including the UNHRC also condemn the forced norms imposed by Sri Lanka. However, now referring to the reversal of orders for cremation and burial, the head of the human rights body stressed, “This is a long-awaited move that the Sri Lankan authorities have welcomed. Muslims to say goodbye to loved ones according to their religious beliefs. “
Calling the rules on cremation cruel, he further pointed out “The end of this cruel practice, which has not been scientifically proven to prevent the spread of the virus, allows the Sri Lankan Muslim minority to have a dignified burial in line with Islamic burial rites. from victims’ families, activists, and members of the Muslim community. “
Body cremation is prohibited in Islam. The reversal of order also came after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka where he met leaders of Muslim minorities. Minority leaders quoted by the PTI said that the “decision to allow burials is linked to Sri Lanka seeking support from the Organization of Islamic States (OIC),” at the UN Human Rights Council underway in Geneva.
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