Rights organisation urges immediate repatriation
By Sandeep Tissaaratchy
The Women for Rights Organisation (WRO) handed over a petition demanding vulnerable Sri Lankans abroad be brought back to the country immediately.
Speaking to the Media after handing over the petition, Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said that there were many displaced at-risk groups abroad with no finances to travel back home. “The Government needs to implement a proper plan which will ensure their safe return before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year begins,” she said.
According to WRO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not be approving any operations conducted by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and added that SLBFE will take charge of operations to bring back Sri Lankans who are unable to pay for their travel costs.
The petition urges that migrant workers, hospitalised individuals and those incarcerated abroad should be prioritised and returned back to Sri Lanka. Dr. Amarasuriya said that there is a lack of coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SLBFE who have refused to take responsibility.
“Since March 2020, our organisation has been requesting the Government to take action and bring back stranded migrant workers. However, there was no response and due to this huge delay, we took action and prepared a petition,” Amarasuriya said.
Chairperson of the Women’s Rights Organisation, Saroja Paulraj added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs realised the severity of the situation only after the petition was presented highlighting that there isn’t enough information shared with the Ministry.
Following the petition, the Ministry of Foreign affairs has promised that all vulnerable groups residing abroad will be brought back before 15 April.