Country: SRI LANKAsri lanka     

Capital: Colombo

Geographic Coordinates: 7 00 N, 81 00 E

Population: 21,513,990. Note:  since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism

Language: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8% *note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population

Government Type: Republic

Head of State: President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA

Main Industries:  processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining

GDP in US Dollars (per capita): $4,500 (2009 est.)  

Currency Code:  Sri Lankan rupee  (LKR)

Life Expectancy: 69 years (men), 76 years (women) (UN)

Environment - current issues:  Deforestation; Soil erosion; Wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; Coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; Freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; Waste disposal; Air pollution in Colombo

Issues facing Women and Children: 

  • The unresolved conflict and the dangerously fragile ceasefire agreement between the Government and Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continue to gravely impact the lives of children and women in Sri Lanka and are the most important factors hampering rapid and sustainable development of the economy. 
  • With violence between the government and the LTTE at its highest level since 2002, the security situation is deteriorating especially in the North and East. Since August 2006, over 200,000 persons have been displaced (including multiple displacements from Trincomalee to Vaharai and in January 2007, to Batticaloa government-controlled areas). Some 600,000 people remain cut-off in Jaffna district. Conflict and displacement present particular threats for children, such as separation from their families, recruitment by fighting forces and exposure to targeted and indiscriminate violence like claymore attacks and landmines/UXOs. In IDP locations, abduction and recruitment of children have been reported by families and humanitarian agencies.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: N

Local Media: Press: Daily News, The Island, Daily Mirror; Radio and TV: Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), Independent Television Network (ITN), Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC)

Interesting Fact: In Sri Lanka, people don’t tend to say thank you. Instead they will just smile. To most people around the world nodding your head up and down means yes and moving it back and forth means no. It is the complete opposite in Sri Lanka.             

Famous for: the Veddha people, Trincomalee (one of the world's best natural harbours), cinnamon, tea, rubber, Sirimavo Bandaranaike (world's first female PM), Michael Ondaatje (Canadian/Sri Lankan novelist)    


Official Tourism Website: