A group of 52 Sri Lankan workers who have spent the last two months in a detention camp in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, complained that the Sri Lankan authorities in Saudi Arabia had shown no interest about their well-being.
Speaking to Daily Mirror over the phone from the detention camp, one of the workers said that the Sri Lankan authorities in Saudi Arabia had not taken any action to secure their release and alleged that the authorities had requested for bribes and other such inducements when they were asked to intervene. “We have filed complaints with the relevant authorities and have even ensured that our relatives filed complaints on our behalf in Sri Lanka. However they have ignored us completely,” he said.
When Daily Mirror questioned the Deputy General Manager- Foreign Relations- of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) D. B Senanayake about these allegations he replied that the authorities were just following the legal process of Saudi Arabia. “These welfare camps house people from many countries who are kept there pending deportation. They are usually kept in these centers until various issues relating to them are sorted out,” he said.
Mr. Senanayake said that embassy officials visit the inmates thrice a month as per the regulations. “The embassy has limited access to these camps but our officials visit them thrice a month as per the regulations of the country. It’s an ongoing process and we are doing our utmost to secure their release:” he said.(Hafeel Farisz)