Sri Lanka said yesterday a call to ban the wearing of the burqa was “merely a proposal”, following the criticism from regional allies ahead of a crucial United Nations vote on human rights in the island nation.
Sri Lanka’s minister for public security, Sarah Weerasekera, said on Saturday it would “definitely” ban the full face covering worn by some some Muslim women on national security grounds, pending cabinet approval.
But the foreign ministry said on Tuesday a decision had not yet been taken on what it described as “merely a proposal… under discussion”.
“The government will initiate a broader dialogue with all parties concerned and sufficient time will be taken for necessary consultations to be held and for consensus to be reached,” it said in a statement.
The statement follows criticism from Pakistan’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Saad Kattak, who said in a tweet on Monday that a ban “will only serve as injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe.”
Several Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, are among the 47 nations that will vote on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at a United Nations session in Geneva next week.