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Canada urges ‘high degree of caution’ for tourists heading to Sri Lanka

The Canadian government has issued a travel advisory for tourists heading to Sri Lanka, urging visitors to “exercise a high degree of caution at all times” when on the island and added that Tamil Canadians have faced arrests and detention by security forces.

“The Sri Lankan military continues to maintain a strong presence in the country’s north and east, including the Jaffna Peninsula,” said the official travel advisory this week.

In particular Canada highlighted that “some Canadians of Tamil origin report encountering difficulties, including arrest or detention, during screening and security operations” and noted that “Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act permits prolonged detention without charge or trial”.

“The resettlement of internally displaced persons is also ongoing,” it added. “Reports of increased criminal activities and land disputes are more frequent.”

Commenting on the island as a whole, the travel advisory further warned that “inter-communal and religious tensions exist throughout the country and have led to violence”. “Further violent incidents could occur,” it added.

Western tourists have also been the targets of crime on the island it said, stating that there have been incidents of “harassment and assault aimed at Western foreigners”.

See the full travel advisory here.

The advisory comes as tourist numbers continued to fall, as political turmoil took over Colombo earlier this month. Several countries issued travel warnings in the aftermath of the crisis.