The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau today called on the Government of Sri Lanka to boost efforts made in terms of preventing exploitation and abuse of Sri Lankan migrant workers.
Following his first official visit to Sri Lanka, Crépeau had highlighted the need to advance efforts undertaken by the government in the recent years to protect migrant workers from abuse while employed in the destination country as well as upon their return to Sri Lanka.
He has noted that despite recent initiatives, Sri Lanka authorities have often failed to protect Sri Lankan migrant workers and has stressed on the need for Sri Lanka to enhance cooperation with destination States to ensure the rights of migrant workers were not violated.
He also drew attention to the specific age limits applied to women who wish to migrate as domestic workers and the restrictions imposed on women with children below five years. “I regret the discrimination against Sri Lankan women in relation to the right to migrate,” he has noted in his statement while adding the exploitation of many domestic workers or the fact that they have young children should not be used to deny them the right to seek foreign employment.
Crépeau had also called on the authorities to create income-generating opportunities locally-particularly for women, youth and minorities so that migration becomes a choice rather than a necessity. In his statement, Crépeau has further noted the importance of introducing a better monitoring mechanism for the recruitment industry that includes a comprehensive policy with high standards that ensure improved services and the ability to hold them accountable.
He is due to present a comprehensive report of the visit to the UNHRC in June 2015.
During his eight day mission to the country, the Special Rapporteur, who had also looked into migration to Sri Lanka, had noted that policies with concern to irregular migrants had violated the principles set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. “In the Mirihana detention centre, I met five children who have stayed there with their families for as long as two years with no access to education, in violation of the principles set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he had stated. (Lakna Paranamanna)