Minorities decry discrimination as country turns exclusive

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Colombo/Sri Lanka – Security forces in Sri Lanka are “oppressing” minorities, especially the Tamil ethnic minority and Muslims, against whom hate crimes have seen a surge, said activist Swasthika Arulingam.

She explained that minorities still suffer from discrimination at public places, schools, government agencies and police stations, as minority languages are rarely used or spoken there. 

She highlighted that consecutive governments’ acquiescence to populists and racists is the reason why the country is faced with human rights abuses. 

Former minister-turned activist Mano Ganesan described the country as “unstable” due to the social and political situation it is mired in, noting the country is left with this situation because the authorities have not addressed national issues. 

Ganesan said political parties and activists representing Muslims and Tamils are drafting a document that can pave the way for the creation of an environment where people are treated equally. 

Speaking to A24 News Agency, the Attorney-at-law (AAL) Arulingam, as a member of Tamil, explained their struggles even in normal aspects of life.

“We have services in Tamil language, but it is not obtained so easily. If I go to a Police station, I still have to wait extra hours if I want that statement in Tamil,” she said. 

“Land is an issue for minorities. Continuous racism and the experience of continuous racism being called names, being considered or not considered for a job, these things become an issue for minority communities. The handling of businesses becomes an issue for minority communities,” Arulingam added. 

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