Tourists from seven countries including Syria to be screened

The Government has decided to screen tourists from seven countries including Syria, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs S. B. Navinna has said the screening will be carried out in light of national security concerns.

Visitors from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon will be screened before being approved a visa.

Sources at the Immigration and Emigration Department said that tourists from Syria and Egypt will be screened as there is a fear ISIS rebels from those two countries may attempt to infiltrate Sri Lanka.

Sources also said that visitors from Ghana and Nigeria will be screened for illegal immigrants while Pakistanis will be screened for refugees.

It was reported that there are moves to screen visitors from Afghanistan as well in the near future as well as Uganda.

Western countries have increased security following recent attacks by ISIS and IS rebels who infiltrated the countries, some as Syrian refugees.

According to foreign media reports, internationally, close to 4.9 million Syrians had been registered as refugees as of early January; the vast majority are in first-asylum countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; only a fraction are likely to ever be permanently resettled. Facing dim resettlement prospects and eager to establish new lives, nearly 900,000 Syrians have headed to Europe and filed asylum claims there since the war began.

Beyond the United States, a small number of countries have accepted Syrian refugees through their resettlement programs, most notably Canada, which took in close to 40,000 Syrians between November 2015 and December 2016. Since 2013, Germany has admitted about 41,000 displaced Syrians who were living in Syria or a first-asylum country in the region via a humanitarian admissions program. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Indika Sri Aravinda