Political unrest in Sri Lanka

October 29, 2018 5:50 pm

What’s happening?

On October 26, the Sri Lankan president fired the country’s Prime Minister and replaced him, a move which many saw as a power grab and threat to the country’s democracy.  This resulted in large demonstrations held in Colombo and unrest around the country.  On Friday, November 9, the President announced that the Parliament would be dissolved, and elections would be held in January next year to decide on new representatives.  Today the Sri Lanka Supreme Court suspended the president’s move to dissolve parliament. These new developments have contributed to further demonstrations in Colombo.
 
So far, the unrest caused by the political situation has not affected Kandy town, the University of Peradeniya or the IFSA-ISLE program.  The program has continued as normally scheduled during this time.  Students are set to leave soon for the Independent Field Study period at their chosen field assignments around the country.  IFSA’s Health and Safety team, along with our Sri Lanka resident director Tudor Silva, will be closely monitoring current events during this time. Adjustments to travel or itineraries will be made if necessary. As demonstrations have taken place largely in Colombo, students have been asked to avoid travel there indefinitely. 
     
We will continue to closely monitor security events in Sri Lanka and provide you with relevant updates as needed. 

What IFSA is doing

IFSA’s full-time Health and Safety team maintain a close watch on security events in Sri Lanka and all of our programs. IFSA adheres to the health, safety, security and risk management guidelines and best practices in the field of international education as established by NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad. We consult regularly with governmental agencies and private sector resources, as well as other safety and security professionals in the field of international education. This broad network allows us to remain well-informed and up to date on best practices.

IFSA’s Health and Safety team works with the resident staff in each host country to ensure students are accounted for and receive the proper support and care. Additionally, the team is constantly monitoring international news and governmental reports in order to assess worldwide security conditions and respond quickly in the event of an emergency. Resident Directors guide students through safety practices and consistently check in, providing any information and support that is needed. Students are given an emergency phone number for our resident staff and our emergency assistance provider that they can call 24/7.

More Information

If you would like more information about this security event, please see the following media outlets:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45991919

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-politics/turmoil-in-sri-lanka-as-ex-president-rajapaksa-sworn-in-as-pm-idUSKCN1N02NA

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/sri-lanka-president-sacks-prime-minister-appoints-rajapaksa-181026174208405.html

This article was updated on Nov. 13, 2018 at 3:40 p.m. EST.