National declaration on prevention of HIV/AIDS in Lankan offices
Several groups including the private sector came together this week to endorse a National Tripartite Declaration on Prevention of HIV/AIDS in Workplaces in Sri Lanka. The declaration was a result of several consultations and meetings the Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower had with employers’ organisations and trade unions facilitated by the ILO.
The Declaration endorses the guidelines of the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS in the World of Work. By signing this Declaration the relevant government ministries and institutions, employers’ organisations and trade unions commit to establish HIV/AIDS prevention programmes in workplaces and ensure zero tolerance of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, both in the public and private sectors. The goal of the project is prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the workplaec and reduce its adverse consequences on social, labour and economic development. At a press conference held in Colombo, the Secretary to the Ministry of Labour Mahinda Madihewa outlined the measures which have been taken by the Ministry to create awareness on HIV/AIDS in work places. He disclosed that the Worker's Education Division of the Ministry of Labour developed a proposal to implement a pilot project in 20 factories situated in one industrial park.
The labour officers and other officials discussed the strategy and the implementation plan. An advocacy programme was conducted recently for the human resource managers of the factories and 600 labour officers have been trained to carry out awareness programmes in work places especially in plantation areas.
Chairman and Director General of Board of Investment Sri Lanka Lakshman R.Watawala told reporters that 420,000 workers are currently serving in 1760 factories in seven industrial promotion zones in the island and majority of them are women. “Therefore it is essential to implement HIV/AIDS awareness programmes in IPZs although Sri Lanka has a relatively small number of people living with HIV AIDS,” he said.
Representing the tripartite constituents, the Ministries of Labour Relations and Manpower, Health and Nutrition, Women’s empowerment, Vocational Training and Skills Development, Department of Labour, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Board of Investment, Employers Federation, Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Tourist Hotels Association, Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions, Ceylon Workers Congress, Lanka Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, National Workers Congress and the Sri Lanka Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya signed the declaration.