Number of Sri Lankan housemaids in Gulf up

It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Sri Lankans currently working in the Middle East. (File/Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Number of Sri Lankan housemaids in Gulf up

  • It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Sri Lankans currently working in the Middle East

COLOMBO: The number of workers leaving Sri Lanka to take up jobs as housemaids in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Far East has soared by more than 16 percent in the past year.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar were the main destinations in the Middle East for domestic employees coming from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, with Japan and South Korea most popular in the Far East.
Figures for the areas highlighted show that a total of 64,965 people left Sri Lanka to work as housemaids in 2018, an increase from 55,884 the year before.
Madhava Deshapriya, deputy general manager for corporate communications at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, told Arab News on Friday that the upward trend is being put down to recruitment agencies making salary payments of up to SR6,000 ($1,600) to housemaids in advance of them leaving Sri Lanka for their new jobs abroad.
One Sri Lankan recruitment agent, Abdul Rahman, said new laws restricting working hours for women had encouraged maids to seek out better-paid jobs in other countries. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Sri Lankans currently working in the Middle East.


Morocco Christians urge religious freedom before pope visit

Updated 29 min 26 sec ago
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Morocco Christians urge religious freedom before pope visit

  • Morocco is 99 percent Muslim
  • The pontiff is due to visit the North African country on March 30-31 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI

RABAT: Morocco’s Christian minority on Thursday called on authorities in the Muslim-majority country to guarantee religious freedoms, ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.
The Coordination of Moroccan Christians, a group representing converts to Christianity in a nation that is 99 percent Muslim, appealed for “basic freedoms of which we, Moroccan Christians, are still often deprived.”
These include freedom of public worship as well as the right to have church or civil weddings and Christian funeral rites and education, it said in a statement.
“We dream of a free Morocco” which embraces religious diversity, the group said, adding that it hopes Pope Francis’s visit this month will be a “historic occasion” for the country.
“We also call on the Moroccan authorities to no longer put pressure on the country’s official churches, including the Catholic church in Morocco, to dissuade them from accepting” converts to Christianity, the statement said.
The pontiff is due to visit the North African country on March 30-31 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI.
More than 40,000 Christians — mostly foreigners — are estimated to live in Morocco, whose king describes himself as the “commander of the faithful.”
Religious pluralism is enshrined in the constitution and freedom of worship is guaranteed, according to the Moroccan authorities.