What does Sri Lanka’s state of emergency mean for travelers?

Sri Lanka, dance

The state of emergency is not meant to keep tourists away from this culturally rich nation. Source: Shutterstock

ACCORDING to a top Sri Lankan diplomat, those traveling to Sri Lanka do not need to amend their travel plans, despite the nation declaring a state of emergency.

“The emergency declaration is just a preventive step taken by the government. It is a measure to prevent the violence from spreading to other parts of the country, which is otherwise limited to some villages in Kandy district,” Sulaiman J Mohideen, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

The Sri Lankan government has not issued any official travel advisories for those planning a trip to the beautiful island nation.

The cricket match between India and Sri Lanka went ahead yesterday in the capital of Colombo, which further illustrates the Ambassador’s point about other regions not being affected.

Why has Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency?

The state of emergency was enforced due to violent attacks on the Muslim minority population in Sri Lanka.

These attacks are a major setback for a nation that is desperately trying to recover from decades of brutal civil war.

The organized attacks began on Sunday as the Sinhalese ethnic majority bombarded Muslim businesses, houses and at least one mosque with physical attacks.

At least one person has been killed in the violence while hundreds of security personnel have been drafted in to tackle unrest.

The state of emergency allows officials to temporarily implement new laws in order to monitor the clashes and violence between the two groups. One of the new laws is a nighttime curfew.

“We have decided to declare a state of emergency to ensure these clashes and tensions don’t spread elsewhere in the country,” Dayasiri Jayasekera, a government spokesman told The New York Times.

Mr. Jayasekera said the state of emergency would last 10 days and that law enforcement would also act against “all communal hate speech posts on social media”.

However, this state of emergency is not to deter travelers from visiting Sri Lanka. It is instead enforced to prevent any future attacks and closely monitor the situation.