Sarvodaya Women’s Movement Statement on International Migrants’ Day

International Migrants Day

18th December 2015

We  wish  to  congratulate  the  18  lakhs  of  Sri  Lankan   Migrant   Workers  for  celebrating  their 16th Migrants Day.   International  Migrants  Day  is  an  international  day  observed   on 18  December as International Migrants Day  appointed by the  General  Assembly  of  United  Nations  on 4 December 2000 taking  into account  the large and increasing  number  of migrant  in the world.

Sri Lankan  Migrant  Workers have contributed USD 7 Billion  to the Sri Lankan  economy  last year. In short we can take for granted  that they only have been keeping  the Sri Lankan  economy  rolling along. Which is by far the highest  Foreign  Exchange earner  overtaking the contributions made by the exports of Apparels,  Ceylon  Tea or Ceylon  Cinnamon.

At the same  time  we wish  to highlight  that  the Good  Governance Government must  give them  their voting  rights which  has been  enshrined on them  by the Sri Lanka’s 2nd  Republican Constitution. We are made to understand that  the issue  in undertaking the same  is logistical  issues and that such  issues are overcome  and the coming Local Government and Provincial Council  elections they would  be able to exercise  their franchise at the Sri Lankan  High Commissions or Embassies in the country  in which they  currently  work  in. Further   learning  on this  matter could be obtained  from  the  Filipino  system, where  all Filipino  are able  to exercise their  franchise  in through  the embassies in the  countries  they work in at election  time.

In addition  to  which  we  also  wish  to  highlight  that  the  Good  Governance Government also  allows Migrant Workers   to  form   in  to  trade  unions  and  be  able  to  register  their  Trade  Union  under  the Commissioner General  of Labour.

Also  we wish  to highlight that  all embassies in the  Middle  East Countries be able  to retain  a Legal Consultant on a full  time  basis,  as was done  by the  Bangaladeshi government to  look  into the  legal aspects of nationals  who are held in jails and detention  centres  for various  crimes  and other charges.

We wish them well in their future  struggles and to keep the Sri Lankan  Flag flying  high!

Ms Wimla Ranatunga

President, Sarvodaya Women’s Movement

PDF Version: Sarvodaya Women’s Movement Statement