Thinking of visiting Sri Lanka?
Think again.

What you see...

Sri Lanka is a stunning island with beautiful sights, amazing landscapes, incredible wildlife, wonderful food and friendly people. It is not surprising that each year nearly a million people from all over the globe visit to experience the hospitality and sights on offer. Sadly, however, visitors to Sri Lanka are in real danger of inadvertently supporting alleged perpetrators of war crimes and human rights abuses, both financially and politically.

...and what you don't

Many Sri Lankans live in fear. Sri Lanka is ranked as the second worst country for involuntary disappearances and the 4th most dangerous country for journalists in the world. There is strong evidence of widespread torture and murder, discrimination and land-rights abuses, with those in power above the law. While many people have reportedly been illegally detained, tortured or disappeared, to date very few perpetrators have been arrested or charged.

These abuses, and the culture of impunity that permits them, are a result of the lack of accountability for what happened at the end of Sri Lanka's long and bloody civil conflict. During the final stages of the war in 2009 an estimated 40,000 civilians were killed. There is credible evidence that Government forces deliberately shelled hospitals and designated no-fire zones, while the LTTE used civilians as human shields. Many of those alleged to be responsible remain in power. Oppression of minorities has continued and those who dare to speak out face persecution.

Travellers' dilemma

Tourism can bring positive benefits to a country, and we are not suggesting that these be denied to a population already suffering under an oppressive regime. Often the challenge is making sure your holiday spending really does go to help local communities - in Sri Lanka there is the additional problem that it may profit known or alleged human rights abusers. The most important thing is to make an informed choice.

Ethical alternatives

If you intend to go on holiday to Sri Lanka and would like to support the ordinary people and legitimate businesses of that country, then there are ways of trying to ensure your money contributes to local communities. There are many family run hotels and local businesses that can provide you with a wonderfully authentic experience, and in many places there are also community projects, such as turtle watching, that provide fair employment to local people.

What else you can do

The most important thing you can do is raise awareness of the issue. Please tell your friends and anyone else who is thinking of visiting this beautiful island about the human rights abuses faced by the people of Sri Lanka. If you use social media you can spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.

You can take action and support our media freedom campaign by writing to your MP or representative today. If you are able to make a donation or join us then we can do more together to bring a lasting peace to Sri Lanka. Thank you.

 

 

What you see...
Beach in Sri Lanka. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.

...what you don't see
Refugee camp during the recent conflict. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.

What you see...
Elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.

...what you don't see
Alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.

What you see...
Tuk Tuk Rickshaw Bajaj at a holiday resort. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.

...what you don't see
Evidence of alleged torture committed by Sri Lankan police. Consider ethical tourism when booking a holiday in Sri Lanka.