Rising number of housemaid deaths alarms Sri Lanka

Updated 24 April 2014
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Rising number of housemaid deaths alarms Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government is showing grave concern about the large number of housemaid deaths in the Gulf countries where they come to work as domestic helps in households.
The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) has given serious attention to a recent report presented in Parliament which revealed that a large number of dead bodies and remains were returned to Sri Lanka from the Gulf States between January and October 2012.
According to information available with the Medical Officer at the Katunayake Airport, about 75 percent of the bodies were of women below thirty years of age; the majority of cases were determined to be deaths due to heart failure and the internal organs in most of the bodies were reported to be missing. This is when the life expectancy at birth of Sri Lankan women is 79 years.
The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) is a volunteer association, set up in 1985 and incorporated in 2011 by an Act of Parliament. Its objective is to undertake, promote and facilitate studies in the field of economics and to promote understanding, co-operation and friendship with similar associations within and outside Sri Lanka.
According to a senior official from the Sri Lankan Embassy here, an average of one death is reported everyday.
“The cause of death is mainly natural and very few cases are due to road accidents,” the official said. Asked about the dead bodies of Sri Lankans lying in the Kingdom’s mortuaries, he said that there are some 20 bodies awaiting repatriation. However, he added that the mission sends two bodies to Colombo daily to be received by the deceased’s relatives.
An official from the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah said that in the western province, the cases of death among Sri Lankans is minimal. “The consulate gets around four to five cases a month,” he said, adding that the Riyadh Embassy covers a much larger area than the consulate, so there will be more death cases at the embassy than the consulate in Jeddah. There are some 450,000 Sri Lankans living in the Kingdom and the majority of them are female domestic workers. The Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom is the island’s largest concentration among the 1.5 million Sri Lankans in the Middle East.
According to Road Map-2014 presented by the Central Bank, the trade deficit for 2013 is estimated as $8.6 billion.
Nearly 80 percent of this deficit ($6.7 billion) was bridged by foreign expatriate remittances. In addition to this macro impact, employment in the Gulf has helped thousands of poor families to make ends meet.
This is particularly important in the backdrop of weaning employment opportunities for unskilled women labor in Sri Lanka.
Based on these considerations, the SLEA has recommended the following actions which include requesting international agencies that profess the dignity of labor to uphold the cause of human rights, unequivocally protest to the countries that employ Sri Lankan housemaids, issue strict instructions to Sri Lankan missions in the Gulf to be vigilant and ensure Sri Lankan employees’ welfare and safety and take immediate remedial measures to resolve any issue that arises, register all job agencies and take strict action against agencies which are not registered and launch together with job agencies an orientation program for aspiring migrant workers to improve their soft skills, public relations, ethics and awareness of their rights and duties.


Two killed, dozens injured in Gaza City rallies and clashes

Palestinians take part in a Hamas rally in the Gaza Strip’s Jabalia refugee camp on Dec. 8, 2017, against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel deployed hundreds of additional police officers following Palestinian calls for protests after the main weekly Muslim prayers against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Updated 09 December 2017
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Two killed, dozens injured in Gaza City rallies and clashes

GAZA CITY: Tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip after the end of Friday prayers, while clashes broke out between hundreds of youths and Israeli forces along the border between Gaza and Israel. At least two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured.
The Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, staged military parades in which masked men wearing military uniforms carried rifles and ammunition. The participants chanted slogans condemning America’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and calling for a revolt to “liberate Jerusalem from occupation.”
Fathi Hammad, a member of the Hamas political bureau, told demonstrators in the northern Gaza Strip: “Today we declare an uprising against the occupation, and there are no half solutions.
“We call upon all the free people of the world to boycott America and Israel, and we call on the Arab and Islamic countries to take a serious stand and support our people.”
He added that a US Embassy in Jerusalem would be “an occupation entity like any other.”
He also called for the return of the Palestinian diaspora: “Isn’t it time for anyone who (has believed) in this alleged peace for more than a quarter of a century to return to embrace his people and to join us in the trench of resistance?”
In East Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, clashes broke out along the border with Israel. As Palestinian youths burned tires, Israeli forces reportedly responded with tear gas and live rounds. At least two Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured, some critically.
Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said during another march in Gaza City: “The Palestinian Authority must take urgent decisions, by declaring the failure of Oslo Accords and the end of that period, ending security coordination (with Israel) and permitting resistance in the West Bank.


“Hamas leaders declare the intifada for the freedom of the West Bank and Jerusalem, in response to President Trump’s decision,” he said. “Jerusalem will remain the capital of the state of Palestine.” 
“Trump’s decision ended any mediation role the United States could play in the political process, destroyed the peace process, and destroyed any talk about a deal to bring peace to the region,” Osama Al-Qawasmi, a Fatah spokesman, said in a statement.
Friday sermons in the Gaza Strip addressed the issue of Jerusalem and the American decision to transfer its embassy there, and urged the rejection of any attempt to harm “the sanctity of the city.” 
One of the protesters, Ahmed Al-Aksh, blamed “the weakness of the Palestinian people because of the division between Fatah and Hamas” for the US decision, “as well as the preoccupation of Arab countries with internal issues.”
Now, Al-Aksh said: “We must go out to the streets and face that decision.”​