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Hoteliers call for curbs on Hate Speech

Sanath Ukwatte, President THASL, in a statement, said they were requesting the Government to take urgent action to implement all applicable laws and regulations to prevent the perpetration of hate speech, and racial and religious discrimination.

Sunday Times, 7th July 2019

Hoteliers call for curbs on hate speech, racial discrimination

The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) has condemned the growing number of incidents of hate speech against ethnic and religious communities in the country.

Sanath Ukwatte, President THASL, in a statement, said they were requesting the Government to take urgent action to implement all applicable laws and regulations to prevent the perpetration of hate speech, and racial and religious discrimination.

It also urged the Government to “take quick action against people who create disharmony in society with the intention of destroying the diversity of our cultural traditions, which is a valued aspect of our heritage.”

The statement underscored that Sri Lanka’s well-known friendliness, tolerance, respect for other religions and cultures has long attracted visitors.

“We condemn all acts of terrorism and extremist action,” it said, pointing out that it was contrary to what Sri Lanka was known for. “The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka strongly believes that we need to live in harmony in a multi ethnic, multi-racial and multi-religious nation, and condemns any act which is contrary to this belief.”

“Hate speech, ethnic violence and boycotting of products targeting a section of the community will not do any justice to the country in the long run. It has only brought about distrust among communities, deep social divides and caused irreparable damage to the credibility of our country as a safe and peaceful tourist destination,” the statement said.

THASL pointed out that tourism is one of the most sensitive industries in the world, and that any type of disturbance and disharmony among people has a significant impact on the industry, as experienced in the country today. If the rise of hate speech is not stemmed, the resulting loss to the tourism industry and the hospitality industry could be irreversible.

THASL called for Sri Lankans to collectively take responsibility and protect Sri Lanka from going back to a dark era. “We want the country to prosper, economy and industries to grow to full potential, and to build a society based on mutual respect where future generations can live in harmony,” Mr Ukwatte said.

 

Source: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/190707/news/hoteliers-call-for-curbs-on-hate-speech-racial-discrimination-357222.html