Apr 07, 2020

HRCSL Position on Regulation on Disposal of Bodies of COVID-19 Victims


HRCSL Position on Regulation on Disposal of Bodies of COVID-19 Victims

Cremation of Muslim covid-19 victims: Dr. Udagama says govt. should have consulted the community
The Island, 7 April, 2020

Dr. Udugama, Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Dr. Deepika Udagama yesterday told The Island that the government should have consulted the Muslim community as regards its decision to cremate covid-19 victims.

Dr. Udagama has sent us the following statement in response to The Island query on the HRCSL position on the government policy on disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims: “The Commission is of the view that if the government wished to move away from the WHO regulation as well as its own previous regulation which permitted both cremation and burials for Covid-19 victims, the government should have consulted community leaders of the Muslim community including medical professionals and scientists of the faith. This would have dealt with religious sensitivities in a participatory manner.

The commission recognizes that at a moment of unprecedented health crisis like that at present, views of the public health specialists and other relevant scientists must prevail in the interest of all. However, when cultural or religious sensitivities are involved, the proper path is to dialogue with the particular community concerned so that a final decision is taken in a consultative manner. It is also important to communicate the final decision to the public explaining reasons for it so as to win public confidence and minimize tensions.” (SF)

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