More than 400 Lankan workers died overseas last year: MEA reportBy Chandani KirindeView(s):
Eight Sri Lankans committed suicide, 89 were killed in accidents and 318 died of natural deaths while working overseas last year, according to a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) report submitted to Parliament last Tuesday.
The majority of the 417 deaths took place in Saudi Arabia. Some 87 Sri Lankan workers died there while 48 died in Kuwait and 30 in Qatar, the report says.
Pointing out that the next of kin of a Sri Lankan worker who dies in a foreign country is entitled to receive compensation, salary dues, gratuity and insurance payments, the report claims that the Ministry last year collected about Rs. 180 million in compensation from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon and the Republic of Korea.
The report also says the ministry has taken continuous efforts to secure the release of Sri Lankans detained in foreign countries, some of whom are in death row.
“In the Rizana Nafeek case, the ministry is persisting with efforts to obtain a pardon from the parents of the infant who died while being under the care of the housemaid, in coordination with our embassy in Riyadh and other relevant authorities,” the report says.
The MEA also arranged the repatriation of 41 Sri Lankan workers stranded in Iraq. They had gone to Iraq for employment illegally and the ministry intervened to recover their salary arrears, the report adds.
It also notes that a large number of employers and agencies in the Middle Eastern countries are not willing to repatriate employees before the completion of their contract period, unless they pay about Rs. 200,000 – the money the employers are said to have paid the agents.
Last year, the Consular Affairs Division of the MEA also facilitated the repatriation of 176 Sri Lankan fishermen many of whom were detained by the Indian authorities along with 29 fishing vessels, the report says.
“Of the two fishing vessels detained in the Andaman Islands for almost one year, one vessel with five fishermen was repatriated on 12th November 2011 and the other vessel was released by the end of 2011 following successful negotiations by the Sri Lanka missions in New Delhi and Chennai with the relevant Indian authorities in coordination with the Consular Division.’comments powered by Disqus