Earlier this year more than 300,000 Sri Lankans fled to the camps to escape the brutal fighting which marked the end of Sri Lanka's twenty-six year civil war. Conditions in the camps are horrific.
Yet aid agencies have only limited access to the camps. According to an excellent article on Reuters AlertNet: "Many aid workers view the government's call for a scaling down of aid operations as a deliberate move to prevent outsiders from witnessing conditions inside the camps."
Far more people have died in the camps in Sri Lanka than in Darfur this year.
It's hard to imagine vacationing in Darfur, yet tourism in Sri Lankan is growing rapidly, up 8% over last year. The Sri Lankan Government has set the goal of attracting one million tourists a year by 2011. Overall, tourism is one of the main industries in Sri Lanka.
Too often, we read about these atrocities, and it seems there's nothing we can do. In Sri Lanka, tho, we can make our voice heard, even in a small way. We can at least let the Sri Lankan Government know that until the situation in the camps improves, tourism will suffer.