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Sri Lanka lastly lifts ban on burial of COVID victims


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 had been brought on by the COVID-19 illness, a well being ministry spokesman stated.

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 stated the our bodies of COVID-19 victims may solely be cremated.

The foundations banned burial, saying the virus may unfold by contaminating groundwater.

However Muslim teams insisted the federal government’s choice had no scientific base and wished 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 difficulty with the Sri Lankan political leaders.

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

“The coverage of compelled cremation of COVID-19 victims has precipitated ache and misery to the minority Muslim and Christian communities,” she stated.

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 Well being Group and Sri Lankan medical doctors’ teams had stated COVID-19 victims can both be buried or cremated.

Sri Lanka has witnessed 459 deaths because of the coronavirus, with greater than 82,000 individuals testing constructive since January final yr.

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

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