January 04, 2021

கொரோனா உடல்களை அடக்கம்செய்ய அனுமதியுங்கள் - 68 சிவில் செயற்பட்டாளர்களும், 27 அமைப்புக்களும் கூட்டாக அரசாங்கத்திடம் கோரிக்கை

கொவிட்-19 தொற்று நோயினால் உயிரிழப்பவர்களை அடக்கம் செய்வதற்கு அனுமதிக்க வேண்டும் என 68 சிவில் செயற்பட்டாளர்களும்,  27 சிவில் அமைப்புக்களும் கூட்டாக இணைந்து அரசாங்கத்திடம் கோரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளன.

Government must heed advice of eminent Sri Lankan medical professionals and enable burial of COVID-19 dead – civil society statement

4 January 2021

We the undersigned individuals and civil society organisations welcome the recent statements from eminent and authoritative individuals and organisations in the medical field in Sri Lanka approving the burial of COVID 19 dead. We thereby call on the government to act upon this advice and immediately end the ongoing policy of forcible cremation.

In the past one week, Sri Lanka’s top virologists and leading medical bodies have publicly announced that based on the available science burial of COVID 19 dead can be permitted. On 1st January the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) issued a statement asserting that COVID-19 dead could be buried as “the virus is unlikely to remain infectious within a dead body” and adding that no scientific evidence exists from any part of the world that presented burial of COVID-19 dead as a public health hazard.

On 31st Dec 2020 the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka (CCPSL) issued a similar statement explaining that out of the 85,000 published scientific papers on COVID-19 not a single case of the virus spreading through a dead body has been recorded. Refuting concerns of the spread of the virus through ground water the CCPSL position paper stated that “The claims on the SARS-CoV-2 spread directly through groundwater have not been scientifically substantiated and there is no indication that the virus could be transmitted through the drinking water.”

World renown and leading Sri Lankan virologists Professor Malik Peiris and Senior Professor Tissa Vitharana who is a siting government MP in the parliament in recorded statements have challenged the government’s position on forced cremation and argued in support of permitting safe burials.

Both the CCPSL and SLMA have argued that contamination of water supply by sewage of COVID-19 patients pose a higher risk to the spread of the disease than burial of victims.

In light of this substantive and authoritative medical advice we the undersigned call on the government to take immediate action to enable both burial and cremation of COVID-19 dead. This was the national policy until 31 March 2020, when the Ministry of Health unexpectedly issued new guidelines insisting that all COVID-19 dead have to be only cremated. Subsequent media articles and statements by civil society organisations have highlighted that this policy has also been applied to those suspected of having the infection. This policy has been obstinately maintained by the government despite countless statements and appeals from international actors including the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, the UN Special Rapporteurs, Permanent Human Rights commission of OIC and several Sri Lankan religious leaders including from the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Abhava and Ramanna Maha Nikaya, civil society activists and concerned citizens.

With Sri Lanka’s own medical community supporting the burial of COVID-19 dead there is now no more opportunity for the government to continue with its cremation only policy which has clearly discriminated against Sri Lanka’s religious minorities.

Both the above cited medical bodies have also acknowledged the deep religious and cultural implications of the forcible cremation policy that has not only affected inter-community co-existence and reconciliation but can be an unwarranted public health and wellbeing issue, especially for affected groups.

We recognise the scientific evidence on the spread of COVID-19 through handling of dead bodies, participating in funeral rituals and social gatherings and therefore support the imposition of legitimate limitations to these activities. We call on all communities in Sri Lanka to cooperate with such measures.

The government’s ongoing forcible cremation policy pursued amidst a lack of scientific evidence has caused much suffering and grievance to certain religious groups and must urgently be put to an end. Hence, we urge the government to listen to the unequivocal advice by these respected individuals and bodies in the medical field and enable those from religious minority and other groups who wish to bury their dead to do so without hindrance.

Endorsed by: Individuals

1 கருத்துரைகள்:

Why not name the individuals and civil society organisations who have signed this Appeal to the Govt.?

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