On 26th March, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to two questions on freedom of religion and belief in Sri Lanka:
The Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to safeguard religious pluralism and to defend and promote freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We are currently funding a range of projects through a multi-year Conflict Stability and Security Fund programme to promote inter-faith and inter-communal dialogue and dispute resolution at local level in eastern Sri Lanka, one of the most diverse regions. Our High Commission regularly raise issues of concern with their Sri Lankan counterparts.
The Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to work with the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that (1) a thorough investigation is conducted into the recent communal violence between Buddhist nationalists and the Muslim community in Digana and Teldeniya, in Kandy administrative district, Sri Lanka, and (2) the perpetrators are bought to justice.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: I am concerned by the recent inter-communal violence in Sri Lanka and the Minister for Asia and the Pacific, the Rt Hon Mark Field MP, wrote to his counter-part Foreign Minister Marapana on 7 March setting out UK views. We support the Government of Sri Lanka’s action in swiftly bringing the violence to an end and urge it to hold the perpetrators to account. It is vital that all leaders in Sri Lanka condemn violence and hate, and make every effort to promote harmony.