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Labour manual to guide overseas missions

7 January 2013 - Daily News Sri Lanka. The Operational Manual for Labour Sections of Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions in Labour Receiving Countries which is a guideline to improve the current system of migrant worker grievance handling, was launched on Friday evening at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Centre. This operational manual was developed by the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry together with the External Affairs Ministry and Labour and Labour Relations Ministry.

The Operational Manual for Labour Sections of Sri Lankan Diplomatic Missions in Labour Receiving Countries which is a guideline to improve the current system of migrant worker grievance handling, was launched on Friday evening at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Centre.

This operational manual was developed by the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry together with the External Affairs Ministry and Labour and Labour Relations Ministry.

Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry Secretary Nissnaka Wijeratne speaking on occasion said measures have been taken to develop a diploma level course in connection with migrant workers grievance handling and protecting their rights. It will be made compulsory to follow that diploma course for officers who join the embassy labour division in labour receiving countries.

He added that the move was very significant since a considerable number of Sri Lankans work overseas and contributes a sum of six billion US dollars to the inland revenue in 2012. He also added that the target for 2013 is seven billion US dollars.

Labour and Labour Relations Ministry Secretary W J L U Wijayaweera said that this was a timely move. As there was no proper guidelines, different officials applied different approaches to address the grievances of migrant workers.

ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Donglin Li said that the international migration is a global issue that is rightly attracting more and more global attention.

He added that the United Nations General Assembly next year will hold its second high level dialogue on international migration and development, giving member states and their partners a chance to discuss practical measures to facilitate labour mobility, foster sustainable development and protect the rights of migrants, especially women and girls.

Donglin Li said that almost 1.8 million Sri Lankans live overseas as labour migrants. He added that they along with their families represent more than one third of Sri Lanka's population representing a large group of economically and socially active segment of population. He also added that it was therefore important that these migrant workers’ rights and freedom were protected in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Country director of the Swiss Development Cooperation in Sri Lanka Jean-Michael Jordan praised the government for launching this guideline and said that the SDC would continue to support Sri Lanka to protect the rights of the migrant workers of Sri Lanka and their families.

The operational manual has been developed based on international norms and practices in line with ILO conventions to protect the rights, freedoms, security and dignity of migrant workers and their families overseas as well as in Sri Lanka. This project was funded by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera also attended the function.

Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Chairman Amal Senalankadhikara, Dr Sepali Kottegoda, Padmini Ratnayake and Deputy General Manager Foreign Relations, SLBFE D. D. P. Senanayake also spoke.

Source: http://www.dailynews.lk/2013/01/07/news22.asp

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