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Human Rights

United Nations concerned about growing hate speech in Sri Lanka

UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer/Twitter.com

The top United Nations official in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer, is expressing concern about the growing number of “incidents of hate speech being used in Sri Lanka against ethnic and religious minorities.”

Speaking at the launch of an online facility for the public to register complaints against the police to the National Police Commission in Colombo today, Resident Coordinator Singer decried the trend.

She went on to say that we “must not allow the good work that has been done on reconciliation to go to waste at this timely juncture.”

“We believe that the Police as the protectors of the rights of the people should be conscious of the divisive nature of hate speech and its ability to mobilize groups to violence, “she added.

“We must all remember that hate speech is an attack on the values of tolerance, inclusion and diversity. It undermines social cohesion and erodes our shared values. It can set back progress made on peace and sustainable development. Sri Lanka has a long history of diverse communities living together, it is important that we celebrate and protect this diversity” she said. 

Singer pointed out to ensure that each citizen has access to justice “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are important.” 

She said that “Sri Lanka is a country where different groups of people live and work. It is a beautiful Mosaic where people can come together.”

Strengthening independent commissions like the National Police Commission is critical to realizing the aspirations of the Peacebuilding Priority Plan of Sri Lanka, developed in a highly participatory way in close consultation with civil society and development partners. 

Singer ended her words by saying “I pray for a peaceful Sri Lanka.”