Colombo moves to protect its maids

Updated 11 July 2013
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Colombo moves to protect its maids

Sri Lankan women seeking foreign employment as housemaids will not be allowed to go abroad after July 15 unless they can maintain stable homes in their absence from the island, a Sri Lankan government minister told Arab News yesterday.
This is among new measures that also ensure the protection of these workers abroad, including a minimum wage, adequate rest time and a minimum age limit of 25.
Speaking from Colombo, Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare of Sri Lanka Dilan Perera said his government would do background checks on women wanting to work overseas.
“The conduct of the husband, the number of infants and children, protection and education of children after their mother goes abroad, the age and the health of the woman would be considered from July 15 when issuing permission to go abroad for employment,” the minister said.
Perera said the Sri Lankan government is faced with the challenge of protecting the rights of their workers abroad and at home.
“The maids face problems such as harassment, delayed wages and breach of contract in the host countries, while their families back home face serious socioeconomic problems,” the minister said.
Sri Lankan missions abroad have been informed about the scheme, he said.
Spelling out details of the new scheme, Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager of the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News that it includes a minimum wage, working hours of the maids and the type of training given back home.
Randeniya said the minimum age limit for housemaids working in Saudi Arabia would be 25 years and a minimum monthly wage of SR 900. Maids would have to undergo a 21-day training course before being posted overseas.
Maids would in future be given the title “Domestic Housekeeping Assistants.” They should also be allowed at least eight hours sleep a day, he said.
“These conditions are laid down in the new job contracts between the Sri Lankan job agent and the Saudi recruitment company. We will hold the Sri Lankan job agents responsible for any violations of the accepted contracts,” Randeniya said.
Regarding the recruitment of other workers, he said the SLBFE would assist the companies in the host countries to train the workers. “We have well established training centers to update the skills of prospective foreign workers,” he said. Trainers are also provided to help employers in their workplaces.
“An innovative mechanism is currently being developed in Sri Lanka to implement job-specific, country-specific and company-specific training programs for the citizens who seek foreign opportunities,” he said.
Regarding complaints from housemaids, he said they were minimal in relation to the housemaid population in the Kingdom. Around 80 percent of the island's workers in the Kingdom are housemaids.


Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

Updated 25 September 2018
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Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

  • JIAT spokesman said the team is transparent in the way it announces its results for incidents in Yemen

RIYADH: The spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, legal consultant Mansour Bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, has stressed that the team abides by transparency in announcing the results of engagement in Yemen.

Al-Mansour was speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh assessing  incidents. 

The cases included an incident in Malh Town where Human Rights on Yemen stated that on Feb. 18, 2016, during the intensity of combat, a family tried to leave and Coalition Forces targeted the vehicle, causing the death of nine family members and their relatives, injuring three.

JIAT investigations revealed that the target was located 1,600 meters from the coordinate given by the National Commission, and after reviewing the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that there was no air mission on the village of Malh. 

It was also claimed that the Coalition Air Forces on Nov. 10, 2017 targeted the ministry of defense and the fall of a missile on Alsa’adi neighborhood next to the ministry injured 23 civilians. JIAT found that there was a gathering of high-level Houthi leaders inside the building so considered it a legitimate military target. 

On Feb 2, 2018 an airstrike on a target 500 meters away from the warehouse of the UNHCR in Sa’dah city caused damage to the warehouse and injured the guard. JIAT found that the Coalition Air Forces targeted a legitimate military target (a leader from the Houthi armed militia). 

Coalition Forces on March 31, 2015 targeted the national cement factory in Lahj, causing the death of at least 10 people and injuring at least 13 others. JIAT found that the target was 360 meters away from generators and the production line, and was not aimed at the operational infrastructure. JIAT found that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the weapons, ammunition warehouse and AAA inside the factory were in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Al-Mansour announced the findings of investigations into the Radfan water factory north of Lahj governorate. JIAT found that intelligence stated that it was used for weapons storage and as a meeting place for hostile elements and was considered a legitimate military target.

JIAT looked at a High Commissioner for Human Rights report that stated that on Aug. 7, 2016, Coalition Forces carried out two airstrikes on a residential and commercial building in Sana’a, causing the death of 16 civilians including seven children and a woman, and injuring 24 others. JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target the buildings and confirmed that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the truck were in accordance with international humanitarian law. 

Human Rights Watch stated that on Feb. 14, 2016, Coalition Air Forces targeted the Middle East Tailoring and Embroidery Factory in Sana’a city, causing the death of one laborer and injuring three others. 

JIAT found that on Feb. 13, 2016, intelligence received by the Coalition Forces indicated there were meetings of Houthi armed leaders in a hanger in Sana’a that had been used as an embroidery factory before being controlled by the militia.

Regarding reports by international organizations about a civilian boat being attacked by a military ship on March 16, 2017, the boat arrived about 30 nautical miles from Alhudaydah port and was intercepted by a military ship that claimed to belong to the Coalition Forces and opened fire. Passengers signaled that they were civilians but the ship opened fire with a submachine gun, and a helicopter took off from the attacking ship and opened fire, causing the death of 33 people, injuring 29. 

JIAT found Coalition Forces did not target the refugee boat for several reasons, including that the shooting on the boat was horizontal, making it impossible for it to come from a helicopter, and the size of the weapon used showed the marks of small-caliber fire, not medium or large caliber.