Political parties on ethnic or religious lines established to gain narrow political advantage by sowing racism should be banned, labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
He alleged that since the day Sinhala became the official language in 1956, political parties have been using racism for their political purposes, and added when elections are scheduled to be held next year, some political groups are trying to use racism again for their own narrow benefit.
Addressing the media in Colombo the Minister said, “Political parties on ethnic or religious lines should be removed from the politics of this country. That is when racism can be stamped out.
“When there were conflicts between Israel and Palestine, when Hamas killed Israeli civilians, we strongly condemned it.
We also condemn the attacks on Gaza by Israel. We will go ahead and condemn it internationally.
As a country, we are neither on the side of Israel nor on the side of Palestine. We work on a Non-Aligned basis.
In spite of that, some people have started talking with the intention of increasing their number of votes both inside and outside Parliament.
There is an existing agreement between Sri Lanka and Israel with regards to the recruitment of workers from Sri Lanka to work in Israel.
We send workers according to that agreement.
But some people within Parliament talk about sending workers to Israel with a racial overtone.
It is an attempt to rekindle racism in this country. It is unnecessary.
If we are asked to send workers to Palestine tomorrow and if there is a safe environment for them, we will send workers to Palestine.
If workers are requested from Russia or Ukraine, if there is adequate security, the workers will be sent.
We are looking at the safety of the workers. Without that, we will not be able to draw lines dividing the countries. We are a Non-Aligned Country.
Some people sow racism for narrow political gain. Again they are trying to take advantage of racism.
We are trying to eradicate racism. We also see attempts to block that peaceful path”, he said.