Statement by Minister Samaraweera on Rohingya Refugees

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samraweera while condemning the recent attack on Rohingya refugees, who were under the care of UNHCR, urged the police to take action against the perpetrators of these crimes.



I would like to condemn in the strongest possible terms, the attack against Rohingya refugees - refugees who were under the care of UNHCR, in Mount Lavinia. In fact I condemn these actions not only as the Minister in charge of Media.I am also condemning it as a Buddhist, a Buddhist who is very proud of the fact that Buddhism is a religion of non-violence and compassion.


In fact these refugees, 30 of them from Myanmar, were rescued at sea by the Sri Lanka Navy in April this year, and they were under the care of the UNHCR, waiting to be resettled elsewhere in a third country, the United States or Canada.


In fact this is not the first time Sri Lanka has given temporary shelter to such refugees. In fact, way back in 2008, in March 2008, again the Sri Lanka Navy rescued survivors off a boat after they were found adrift in the high seas, and they were kept here until 2012, when these people were resettled in the United States of America.


Again in 2013, the Sri Lanka Navy rescued two boatloads of Rohingya survivors from a shipwreck in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka; 138 and 32 of them. They too were kept under the care of the UNHCR, until they were settled in Canada and the United States of America in 2014 and in 2015.