Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera today condemned the attack against the Rohingya refugees by a group of protesters in Mt. Lavinia on Tuesday.
In a video statement, the minister said he condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack against the Rohingya refugees who were under the care of the UNHRC in Mt. Lavinia by a group of ‘thugs in robes’. In fact, I condemn these actions not only as the Minister in charge of Media but also condemn as a Buddhist, a Buddhist who is very proud the fact that Buddhism is a religion of non-violence and compassion,” he said.
He said the group of refugees, 30 of them from Myanmar, were rescued at sea by the Sri Lankan Navy in April this year and they were under the care of the UNHRC waiting to be resettled elsewhere in the US or Canada.
“In fact this is not the first time Sri Lanka has given temporarily shelter to such refugees. Way back in March 2008, the Navy rescued survivors of a boat after they were found adrift in the high seas. They were kept here until 2012 the year they were resettled in the US,” he said.
The minister said in a separate incident in 2013, the navy rescued two boat loads of Rohingya survivors from a shipwreck in the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka.
Thirty two of these refugees were kept under the care of the UNHRC until they were settled in the US and Canada, he said.