2ND LEAD (Adds details)

Australia asks citizens not to travel to North, NorthCentral, East

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 June 2008, 10:07 GMT]
Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in a reviewed and reissued travel advisory for Sri Lanka, asking citizens not to travel to "Northern, north central and eastern areas (including Cultural Triangle, Wilpattu and Yala National Parks),...because of the very high risk of politically motivated violence. " The advisory added that "[a]ttacks in Colombo have become more frequent and have killed many civilians. Recent attacks have been directed against public buses and trains. Further attacks can happen at any time, anywhere in Sri Lanka. Australians could inadvertently become victims of violence directed at others.

Describing the situation in the East, the advisory said: "Reports indicate a pro-government Tamil paramilitary faction has threatened aid workers operating in Eastern Province...Politically motivated violence including assassinations, bombings in public places and on roads is escalating and there is widespread civil unrest. Communal and inter-ethnic tensions in these regions are very high and further violence is highly likely, particularly between Muslim communities on the east coast and pro-government Tamil paramilitaries."

Pointing out the dangers to Australians of Tamil origin, the advisory added: "There is a danger of kidnapping for ransom of foreign nationals in Sri Lanka, including in Colombo. All Australians in Sri Lanka, particularly those of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, should ensure that appropriate identification is carried at all times."

Summary version of the travel advisory follows:

Australia
This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It contains new information under Safety and Security: Civil Unrest/Political Tension (increased frequency of attacks in Colombo). The overall level of the advice has not changed.

Summary
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Sri Lanka at this time because of the very high risk of politically motivated violence. Attacks in Colombo have become more frequent and have killed many civilians. Recent attacks have been directed against public buses and trains. Further attacks can happen at any time, anywhere in Sri Lanka. Australians could inadvertently become victims of violence directed at others.
  • Conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has escalated since January 2008. You should exercise extreme caution, maintain high personal security awareness and avoid military and government locations as these have been the most common targets.
  • Due to the on-going conflict, the international airport could be closed without warning and commercial aircraft could be at risk, particularly at night.
  • We advise you not to travel on the A3 road north of Chilaw on the west coast or north of the B33 road between Chilaw and Wariapola in Kurunegala district. Australians are also advised not to travel north of a straight line between Wariyapola, Nalanda and the Mahaveli River.
  • We advise you not to travel east of a straight line between the southern border of Wasgamuwa National Park on the Mahaveli River and the South Coast, passing through Badulla, including Madiru Oya National Park and Yala National Park.
  • Security arrangements for Australian High Commission staff are at a high level at all times. Australian government officials and dependents have been advised to limit travel (particularly at night), maintain a high degree of awareness at roadblocks and checkpoints and avoid using public transport and visiting locations that may be potential targets (see Civil Unrest/Political Tension below).
  • We strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us so we can contact you in an emergency.


External Links:
AU: Sri Lanka Travel Advice: Foreign Office, Australian Government

 

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