Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency on 6 March 2018. The reason for this are the attacks on Muslims by Buddhists. The attacks happened in the temple city Kandy and in other location in the middle and east of the country. President Maithripala Sirisena has said the state of emergency will last for ten days.
Another state of emergency
In 2009, the civil war between the government and the Tamil separatists ended. Two years later, in 2011, a state of emergency was declared. Now, the president has been forced to declare it again.
With the current acts of violence two people have died thus far. The riots in Sri Lanka broke out after a Buddhist Sinhalese truck driver was killed. This happened during an argument with youths in the Kandy district. Sinhalese crowds entered Muslim neighborhoods and destroyed some thirty houses. Shops and several mosques were also targeted.
In February, Muslim shops and a mosque were attacked in the east of the island. There was a rumor that a Muslim leader had put contraceptives in the food of Sinhalese. This way, the demographic of the island would be artificially altered. After the funeral of the truck driver, the violence quickly spread. The following Tuesday the body of a Muslim was found in a burn out shop. For now, other areas of Sri Lanka remain quiet.
Tensions in Sri Lanka are growing rapidly. In the past year, relations between the two groups heavily deteriorated. Some radical Buddhist groups accuse Muslims of forcibly converting people to Islam. Furthermore, Buddhist heirlooms have supposedly been destroyed. Nationalistic extremism has been growing in the past few years.
Islamic Rohingyas from Myanmar have sought asylum in Sri Lanka. Some Sinhalese object to his. They don’t want any Rohingya staying in their country.
Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said before that certain political groups are trying to fan the flames of hate against Muslims. Which groups he meant specifically, he did not reveal. President Sirisena stated that the police would “act unbiased against those that try to cause ethnic and religious turmoil.”
There are safety risks on the entire island. This is because in certain areas, the military has taken over from the police. Furthermore, foreigners might find it hard to reach the outside world as social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter have been blocked. The advice is to stay up to date on developments and to follow instructions from local authorities.
Sri Lanka visa
If you visit Sri Lanka, you need a visa. There are a few steps that need to be followed, but an application isn’t complicated. Applying for a visa only takes about five minutes and costs € 14,95 per person. It’s possible to apply for a visa for multiple people at once. Each visa has to be paid for separately, though.
Most travellers stay in Sri Lanka for a while, making arranging a visa a lot easier. Like other countries, the passport of the traveller has to be valid for at least six more months and contain several empty pages. Read more about the requirements for the Sri Lanka visa here.
To visit Sri Lanka you can apply for an online visa. This is simply a travel permit. Apply for this permit at least a few days before arrival. With this visa, you can stay in the country for up to thirty days. It is also possible to make an urgent application. This costs € 17,50 extra. There is no guarantee that an urgent visa will lead to the visa being delivered on time. Apply for the visa on time.