story of migrant worker deaths
By Nalaka Nonis
Two hundred and forty one deaths of Sri Lankan workers who had been
working abroad have been reported from January 1 to August 31 this
year, Foreign Employment Bureau sources told The Sunday Times.
This is an
increase of more than 50 percent, when compared to last year's figures
of deaths for the same period, which stood at 160. According to
the sources the highest number of deaths had been reported during
July this year, the figure being 130.
have been due to natural causes, suicide, homicide, road accidents
and other accidents such as burn cases and falls from heights. The
deaths have been reported from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,
Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan , Qatar as well as from Italy, Korea and
Hong Kong. The most number of deaths have been in Saudi Arabia,
United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
Employment Bureau claims it had paid Rs. 850,000 as funeral expenses
to the families of those who had died abroad this year.
on children of women prisoners
By Sarath Chinthaka
With Prisons authorities looking for ways to lessen the overcrowding
of prisons, the question of children who languish in jail, as their
mothers are serving a prison term, is receiving attention.
become victims of circumstances when their parents have to serve
a prison sentence is another issue which crops up, with children
being forced to accompany their mothers, charged for prostitution,
drug trafficking or murder, to prison.
At the Welikada
prison there are children in the age group of two to five, languishing
in jail along with their mothers. What the children get usually
as meals is a portion from their mother's plate.
the age of five, children are usually referred to a place like the
Salvation Army, on a court ruling, for their education where they
remain till the completion of their mother's prison term.
Most of the
basic needs of the children including clothes, milk or nutritious
meals are not regularly received by them and very often they have
to depend on well-wishers or other donors, according to the Chief
Jailor of the women's unit, Kumari Ratnaweera.
She said the children of prisoners who are here as well as those
not here, all need care and compassion.The prison Montessori engages
a teacher from the Overseas International School on weekdays.
mostly from the low income groups, neglect their kids here and their
way of life is hardly an example to their children. In some cases
the woman had ended up in jail because her brother, the real offender,
had avoided arrest and she had been taken in his stead for having
signed as surety.
Most of the
women had been jailed for non-payment of fines ranging from Rs.
2000 to Rs. 3000, compelling their children to live in jail, which
is a crime by itself. Some of the offenders have been released as
the Prisons Commissioner General Rumy Marzook and his wife had paid
here have no basic facilities like soap, bedspreads, pillow cases,
toys or medicine. They need sweets and fruits and there must be
social institutions that can come to their aid', Mr. Marzook said.
He said that
he was making arrangements to supply books and other needs to educate
the women prisoners and teach them cake making, painting and cookery,
besides providing information on HIV and basic health care through