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Colombo downplays monks’ allegations of maid abuse

The Sri Lankan government brushed aside allegations made by a group of Buddhist monks in Colombo on Thursday on the abuse of housemaids in the Kingdom.
Strong allegations against the abuse of Sri Lankan housemaids by Saudi sponsors were made by a group of 20 Buddhist monks of Ravana Balaya led by its General Secretary Iththakande Saddhatissa Thera when it visited the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) of Koswatta at Battaramulla in Colombo on Thursday.
The Ravana Balaya monks requested the SLBFE chairman to take immediate action to bring back the expatriates who have become victims at the hands of their Middle East employers.
The group that arrived at the bureau at 10 in the morning and barged into the office of the SLBFE Chairman Amal Senadhilankara without a prior appointment.
Dispelling the allegations, SLBFE Chairman Amal Senadhilankara told the monks that such allegations could only be handled with adequate evidence. However, he told the intruders that such meetings should be arranged with prior appointment so that he could prepare himself with the team of his officials who handle overseas recruitment.
Speaking to Arab News from Colombo, Senadhilankara said that it is a pity that there are vested interests in the island that want to politicize the foreign employment business of the country. “Our vision and mission is to treat all of our overseas workers equally without any discrimination on the score of religion,” he stressed.
He said there are no major problems of domestic workers in the Kingdom or elsewhere in the Middle East region. “These people want cheap publicity claiming that they are saviors of these housemaids,” he said, adding that there are sporadic problems which are solved through negotiations between the employer and the employees. “Unresolved cases are repatriated at the expense of the SLBFE.”
He said the Kingdom and Sri Lanka are keen on streamlining the domestic aides’ recruitment scheme to protect the interests of the employee and their Saudi employer.
He said that following the recent approval of the Saudi-Lanka labor agreement by the Shoura Council, its implementation will come into effect soon.

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