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Sri Lanka gov eyes more sites for COVID-19 burial, claims a policy for forced cremation never in place at UNHRC

Sri Lanka Director-General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena stated that all the district secretaries have been informed to inform them of suitable places to bury bodies of COVID-19.

Dr. Gunwardena says that Iranaitivu was selected as one preliminary step of the process.

He said, “I have been in a very difficult situation for the last few days because I’m constantly asked where the bodies are to be buried. Whether in Iranativu or in Ottamavadi.

District secretaries and other officials have been informed to find a place in their own provinces so that we can bury [the victims] there.”

Meanwhile, a total of 31 corpses infected with novel coronavirus have been buried at the Ottamavadi area in Batticaloa since the policy on mandatory cremation was reversed last month.

No forced cremation policy

Meanwhile a discussion at the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council covered the topics of Human Rights Defenders, Torture and Violence against children was held yesterday.

Addressing the session, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN C. A Chandraprema said, “an incorrect reference to a mandatory cremation policy for those deceased due to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka” was made by the delegation and he went on to clarify that ”Sri Lanka does not have a mandatory cremation policy”

”Sri Lanka’s protocol for the disposal of human remains of victims of COVID-19 has always been based exclusively of scientific and public health ground and not on the religious or ethnic basis with sole objective eliminating all possibilities of transmission of the virus.” he further said, adding that Sri Lanka already has commenced the burial of Covid 19 victims following a comprehensive study.

Chandraprema further said, ”It is particularly unfortunate that such elaborate that such inaccurate claims are continued to be made even after Sri Lanka had already shared with the delegations concerned the factual situation in this regard.”

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