Photo courtesy of The Conversation
August 22 is the International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief established by the United Nations. In Sri Lanka, there is continuous persecution of religious minorities. The Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 and the Covid 19 pandemic have intensified this persecution. This politicisation of religious identity has a significant bearing on the freedom of religion or belief and, in particular, the status of religious minorities. Laws and regulations to monitor or specifically target religious minorities such as anti-terror laws, regulations to de-radicalise, ban on religious/cultural dress codes, anti-conversion bills, regulating and restricting specific religious practices and the call to scrutinise organisations and political parties that have religious bearing have caused serious erosion of rights of the religious minorities. This anti-minority rhetoric has been used even to cover up the Covid 19 related misappropriation and mismanagement and complemented the consolidation of militarised solutions. This video captures the voices of women who are protecting and promoting the religious rights of minorities, remembering victims of such violations.