Saudi-Lankan MoU on domestic workers expected

Updated 14 December 2013
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Saudi-Lankan MoU on domestic workers expected

Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) early next month for the protection of domestic workers from the island nation in the Kingdom.
An official from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry told Arab News that the decision to sign the agreement was taken last week during the visit of Ziyad Al-Sayigh, deputy minister for customer services and labor relations, to Sri Lanka during the two-day Asia-Gulf States Regional Dialogue on standard terms of employment for migrant domestic workers held in the Sri Lankan capital.
Al-Sayigh held discussions with Sri Lankan labor officials on the sidelines of the meeting.
The dialogue, sponsored by UN Women and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, was attended by representatives from 20 countries including Middle East nations.
The proposed agreement includes provisions that stipulate that contracts should be in a language that is understood by the worker and that the worker must be informed of what to do and whom to turn to in case of an emergency.
The worker also must be made aware of the facilities available to him or her in the country of destination, especially when it comes to health and personal safety and the employer must agree to terminate the service contract after a maximum of two years if the employee wishes to leave his or her place of employment. In addition, the employee has the right to retain all his or her travel documents at all times.
Addressing the dialogue, Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said efforts to work on standard terms for employment was a vital necessity, and its adoption would solve close to 90 percent of the problems faced by workers. A rights-based approach should be an important and essential feature in the dialogue, he said.
The meeting took up a unified contract to protect the rights of women migrant domestic workers, a category particularly vulnerable to various forms of discrimination, exploitation and abuse, which was the main focus of the meeting.
Peiris highlighted the immense role played by Sri Lankan migrant workers in contributing to the economic growth of host states. He noted that the vibrancy of the Sri Lankan economy was due to the invaluable service that migrant labor played with remittance inflows amounting to some $7 billion that surpassed all export earnings from commodities such as garments, tea and rubber.
The minister underscored the commitment of Sri Lanka on working together to find collective solutions to a number of issues and challenges confronting migrant workers.


Saudi Arabia announces Khashoggi’s death, Trump calls it ‘good first step’

Updated 27 min 13 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia announces Khashoggi’s death, Trump calls it ‘good first step’

  • The journalist died after a fistfight at the consulate in Istanbul
  • Deputy intelligence chief, royal court adviser removed from positions, 18 Saudis arrested

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump on Friday called Saudi Arabia's announcement that suspects are in custody in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a "good first step" and said he would work with Congress on a US response.

“Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable,” Trump said. Regarding the Saudi arrests, he said, “It's a big first step. It’s only a first step, but it’s a big first step.”

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying a preliminary investigation indicated he lost his life after a fight at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“The discussions between Jamal Khashoggi and those he met at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul... devolved into a fistfight, leading to his death,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the public prosecutor.

Eighteen Saudis have been arrested in connection with the incident and the investigation is ongoing, the public prosecutor said.

“The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice,” a statement on the SPA said.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the consulate to complete paperwork related to his divorce.

Deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Al-Asiri was removed from his position and Saud Al-Qahtani from his advisory role at the Royal Court, through royal decrees.

Three other intelligence officials who were also sacked have been named as Mohammad bin Saleh Al-Rumaih, Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Shaya and Rashad bin Hamed Al-Muhamadi.

King Salman also ordered the creation of a ministerial committee, headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to restructure the country’s General Intelligence agency and issue the results of its work within a month.

Members of the committee include the interior and foreign ministers as well as the heads of the General Intelligence and State Security.

A team of Saudi investigators were sent to Istanbul and have been working on the case with Turkish detectives, who entered the consulate on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, Saudi Arabia promised a thorough and transparent investigation into what happened to the journalist in Turkey.

(With AP)