Colombo, Oct 18 (NIA) – The Sri Lankan government, on Tuesday handed over financial compensation to families of migrant workers who had died or become disabled while being employed in Arab countries.
Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera and Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala handed over cheques amounting to 51 million local rupees to the families in a ceremony held in the capital.
Addressing the gathering, Samaraweera said that the government had been able to hand over compensation worth over 200 million ruppees to families of migrant workers who had died or become disabled since 2015.
He further assured that the Foreign Ministry together with the Foreign Employment Ministry would take all steps to ensure the safety of migrant workers.
Samaraweera, on behalf of the government, also offered condolences to the families of the migrant workers who had lost their loved ones.
Those compensated on Tuesday, had been employed in Singapore, Lebanon, Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.
Sri Lanka as a party which ratified the UN Convention on the “protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families” has implemented several programmes such as – free life insurance coverage and safe houses in the host countries to accommodate stranded workers.
Sri Lanka, in June said that it will gradually stop sending housemaids abroad, mainly to the Middle East, due to rights abuses, social costs and a local labour shortage.
Sri Lanka’s expatriate workers, mainly housemaids and unskilled labourers, send back remittances, the island nation’s main foreign exchange earner, that help earn around $7 billion a year for the $82.2 billion economy.
Government Spokesperson, Rajitha Senaratna had said that human rights abuses and social costs due to rapes, drug addiction and child abuse in many families of housemaids, and labour shortage locally, had prompted the government to take such a decision.