1,200 Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Sri Lanka Threatened
Around 1,200 refugees and asylum seekers in Sri Lanka have faced hostility after the Easter bombings of 21 April, Amnesty International wrote in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe.
As many as 1,600 refugees and asylum-seekers from Pakistan, Myanmar, Iran, and Afghanistan are in Sri Lanka. These people belong to marginalised and oppressed religious groups, namely Shi’a Hazara from Afghanistan, Ahmadis and Christians from Pakistan.
After the Easter bombings, these refugees faced threats from their neighbourhoods. For some, these threats have resulted in damage of property and mob violence. While the others had to leave at a very short notice in search of shelter and secure places to live.
The letter issued by Amnesty International further stated that even though local NGOs, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other law enforcement agencies have made the required efforts, the mobs have been able to force few refugees and asylum seekers out of the shelters they were living in after the Easter bombings.
The blasts on 21 April included suicide attacks, attacks on churches and luxury hotels. St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in Negombo and Zion Church in Batticaloa were targeted while the Easter Sunday mass were going on, reported PTI. As per IANS, 253 people were killed in these attacks. Out of which there were 40 foreign nationals with 11 from India, claimed Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry.