- Published on Thursday, 17 January 2013 16:18
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The Ministries of External Affairs and Foreign Employment are having discussions to strengthen and promote the human rights of Sri Lankan migrant workers through comprehensive bilateral action plans and improved immigration procedures, said External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama. He also said that measures are being taken to streamline the recruitment process of migrant workers.
The beheading of Rizana Nafeeq has clearly given new impetus to enforce new laws and action plans to protect Sri Lankan women migrant workers, Amunugama said. He added that they will be contentious in promoting the government policy of reducing the number of female workers migrating to Saudi Araibia as domestic aides.
To a question raised by the media Amunugama said the government did all it could to save Rizana Nafeeq from the executioner’s blade, but she was subjected to the Sharia Law . “We have expressed our displeasure over the execution of Nafeeq. The international community and human rights fronts including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon too expressed their dismay at her execution" he said.
She was executed in spite of many requests made by governments to the Saudi state to pardon her. President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed twice to get Rizana released from her sentence on account of irregularities in her detention and that she was an under-aged girl at the time she was arrested on charges of killing the infant boy of her employer.
Asked if the government was considering to get all or some of its women migrant workers in Saudi return to the country over this issue, Amunugama said, there are over 500,000 Sri Lankan domestic aides working in Saudi and they have not made any such request.
However, we will will continue to promote the government policy of bringing down the the numbers of Sri Lankan women leaving for other countries as domestic aides. “Action will also be taken on securing their chances to obtain justice in Saudi Arabia,” he explained.
Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera announced that the minimum age for women seeking housemaid jobs abroad has been raised from 21 years to 25 in keeping with the government policy of reducing the number of females going abroad as domestic workers, he added.