UK ignores Lankan concerns on travel advice

The British Foreign office has updated its travel advice on Sri Lanka but maintained an earlier controversial comment despite objections by the External Affairs Ministry in Sri Lanka.

Updated yesterday (August 23), the advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Local Laws and Customs section notably on posing for photographs in front of statues of Buddha.

However the Foreign office said that the overall level of the advice has not changed.

Sri Lanka had earlier protested at the travel advisory when it was updated on August 14 warning British citizens of an upsurge in nationalism, sexual offenses and anti-western rhetoric in the country.

External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama stressed that the government would voice their protest and work to get the notice changed.

However the updated travel advice issued yesterday maintained that “travellers should note that the end of the military conflict in May 2009 has seen an upsurge of nationalism in Sri Lanka. As a result, anti-Western (particularly anti-British) rhetoric has increased. This has led to violent protests against the British High Commission and other diplomatic premises. Although no protests have so far been directed at the British community more generally, you should be vigilant and avoid demonstrations”. (Colombo Gazette)