No letup in abuse of domestic workers, says Lankan diplomat

Updated 05 February 2014
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No letup in abuse of domestic workers, says Lankan diplomat

Around three complaints are filed daily by Sri Lankan domestic workers against their Saudi sponsors, according to a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Consulate.
M.B.M. Zarook, consul for labor affairs, said the complaints are mostly regarding lack of salary payments, the renewal of the domestic workers’ contracts without their consent and some instances of beatings and physical abuse.
“Fifty Sri Lankan domestic workers made escape attempts in 2013,” said Zarook. “Cases involving sexual harassment among women workers transpire very rarely and do not exceed one case in every 1,000 workers.”
At present, around 350,000 workers and drivers reside in the Kingdom, with domestic workers representing 80 percent of them.
Zarook said the Sri Lankan government is providing training courses for domestic workers for three weeks in Sri Lanka prior to their traveling to Saudi Arabia.
“Workers receive language training, etiquette of hospitality training, lessons on how to run washing machines and home appliances, cooking lessons, and training on how to care for the elderly and children,” he said.
Early this month, the Kingdom decided to sign agreements with six labor-exporting countries to recruit domestic helpers as part of a comprehensive plan to streamline the domestic service sector.
Ahmed F. Al-Fahaid, deputy labor minister for international affairs, confirmed that Sri Lanka would ink a labor treaty in Riyadh on Jan. 14.
Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager and media spokesman of the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment, said the agreement aims to reduce the cases of abuse and guarantee fair and humane treatment of domestic workers.
He said the contract would cover 12 groups of workers, including house drivers, cleaners, housemaids, janitors, tutors and waiters working for individuals or families.
However, the contract would only permit employment of domestic workers through licensed recruitment agencies, which act in accordance with the Kingdom’s regulations. It also extends to a protection mechanism, including insurance, especially for domestic workers.
Commenting on the visa rates, Zarook said it was an open market, and that the consulate had nothing to do with that. He confirmed that the rates depend on the brokers as well as the intermediary groups who travel between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom to raise the fare of visas and misuse the demand of families and scarcity of labor.
“The consulate plays a vital role by informing the recruitment offices and the workers in Sri Lanka about the importance of following work regulations in the Kingdom,” said Zarook


DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy to celebrate 4th International Yoga Day

June 21 is annually known as the International Day of Yoga.
Updated 21 June 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy to celebrate 4th International Yoga Day

  • The UN General Assembly in September 2015 responded positively to India’s request that June 21 be commemorated worldwide each year as International Yoga Day
  • Saudi yoga trainer Dr. Nouf Marwaai has been honored with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for popularizing yoga

RIYADH: The Indian Embassy in Riyadh has organized an event to celebrate the fourth International Day of Yoga on Thursday.
It will be held at the Al-Madi Park in the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh under the supervision of Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed.
The program is expected to be attended by Saudi men and women, as well as foreign diplomats and members of the Indian community.
The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on June 21 since its inception in 2015.
The UN General Assembly in September 2015 responded positively to India’s request that June 21 be commemorated worldwide each year as International Yoga Day.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice attributed to India; June 21 is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and shares special significance in some parts of the world.
In the run-up to the celebration, the embassy organized the yoga day function at the International Indian School-Riyadh (IISR). About 200 IISR male and female students participated in the program in the school auditorium.
Saudi yoga trainer Dr. Nouf Marwaai has also been honored with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for popularizing yoga. She was the first certified yoga instructor in Saudi Arabia. Marwaai is also the founder of the Arab Yoga Foundation, which was established in 2010. It was the first yoga organization in the Gulf region.