Saudi-Lankan MoU on domestic workers expected

Updated 14 December 2013

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 program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi program seeks ‘culture of dialogue, tolerance’

  • Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation (IPDC) on Wednesday launched the Dialogue Program 2020 among religious leaders and organizations in the Arab world.

KAICIID secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, said the center aims to enhance the culture of dialogue and coexistence, and highlight the value of human diversity.

He said the center also lays the foundations of understanding and collaboration among all religions and cultures, and highlights the importance of building a diverse culture.

The center provides sustainable solutions for today’s challenges, he added.

“Serious dialogue can enhance the role of interreligious institutions, helping to promote a culture of dialogue, coexistence and tolerance in society,” he said. “The message of the center addresses all humankind and not a specific society.”

The terrorist events that ripped through the region were the result of fanaticism and hatred, he said, noting that people of all diverse and multiple backgrounds can coexist peacefully in society.

“Islam has provided the first constitution that enhances the idea of common citizenship and freedom of religions. The Document of Madinah included a comprehensive constitution that guides people of different religious backgrounds on how to live together peacefully and practice their religion freely, and, most importantly, enhance the values of coexistence, justice, security and peace among one another,” he added.

Bin Muaammar called on those who have the capability to fight the discourse of extremism, saying that dialogue can enhance “human principles and values such as mercy, respect, tolerance, peace and social solidarity.”

He also urged religious leaders and institutions, as well as policymakers, to promote such values and strengthen comprehensive citizenship.

“Those leaders and institutions can fight and confront the threats facing peaceful coexistence and tolerance, threats that are posed by extreme groups,” he said. “Religious institutions should enhance the culture of common citizenship, each in their society.”

KAICIID contributes to such efforts through its experience and collaboration with relevant institutions around the world.

The Dialogue Program 2020 promotes dialogue, common citizenship and coexistence in the Arab world through cooperation in a range of projects. It also challenges messages of hate locally, nationally and regionally.