The families of the deceased migrant workers in the Middle East and Russia received compensation yesterday at an event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thirty four such families received Sri Lankan Rupees 50 million from Dr. Harsha de Silva, Actg. Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is the third such event organized by the Ministry for the year 2015.
“These payments were secured with the assistance of Sri Lanka Missions in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Israel, Oman, Dubai, Jordan, Bahrain and Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispersed approximately Sri Lanka Rupees 195 million as compensation, salary dues and other redress among 180 families in the year 2014. This year the Ministry released Rs. 169 million to 116 families as compensation/benefits,” the Ministry said in a statement.
A portion of these funds were secured after litigations were filed in the relevant courts abroad. In case of harassment and injuries, the Missions had obtained payments from the sponsors directly. The beneficiaries were from all parts of the country, mainly from rural areas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sri Lankan Missions abroad negotiated with the relevant parties in the countries concerned to obtain compensation/benefits for the migrant workers who were engaged in legitimate employment, especially under unskilled categories.
Addressing the gathering Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that instructions had been given to officers to expedite the process of recovering compensation/benefits related to Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad. He emphasized the importance of the migrant workers’ contribution to the country’s economy. Dr De Silva further stated that the aim of the new government is to curtail the number of Sri Lankan women going abroad as domestic workers taking into consideration the difficulties some have to undergo in some countries. He said that the government policy is to create a new economic environment with ample opportunities to Sri Lankan women to contribute more to the economy while working in Sri Lanka.