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29 Oct 2020

Boram Jang, Tamil Guardian

Sri Lanka: Militarised response to COVID-19 intensifying ethnic divide among workers, minorities

"Sri Lanka’s militarised COVID-19 response 'exacerbates ethnic divides'", 29 October 2020

Sri Lanka has seen a recent rise in COVID-19 cases causing authorities to increase the coronavirus-related curfew zones to 56 police divisions and increasing militarisation, which many human rights advocates have voiced concern over.  

...On 11 October, in a militarised response to Covid-19, the army was called in to round up workers late at night and early in the morning, forcibly taking them to makeshift quarantine centres without informing them where they were going. The workers were separated from the children and were not provided face masks. 

“The manner in which the Sri Lankan Government and the military have handled the recent outbreak among the workers has been deeply troubling… [the] absence of judicial oversight is in clear violation of basic COVID-19 regulations adhered by the Government. At the heart of all these problems lies a heavily militarised and politicised COVID-19 response” stated Jang. 

Alleged war criminal, Shavendra Silva, is the head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) which was created to prevent the spread of the disease. 

However, in Sri Lanka now, there is no public discussion or transparency about the actions and decisions of the military during the COVID-19 response...