Following his week-long visit to Sri Lanka in May, François Crépeau, the Special Rapporteur, has made a range of recommendations in his mission report, highlighting serious anomalies affecting the rights and welfare of the migrant population.
Crepeau has recommended that Government programmes should not encourage migrants to go to countries where the legal and institutional framework necessary to guarantee… …the protection of their rights is not in place.
Highlighting a special concern, he has urged the island to conduct independent autopsies of all Sri Lankan workers who die abroad and to allow family members access to autopsy results.
The recommendations include full implementation of the Code of Ethical Conduct for private employment agencies and the island’s National Labour Migration Policy.
Referring to the issue of weak contracts that render workers vulnerable, the Special Rapporteur has urged Sri Lanka to negotiate with all destination States to reach binding bilateral agreements. Further, the adoption of a uniform model contract, which would reflect international human rights and labour standards, too has been recommended.
It has also been recommended that irregular migration be decriminalized and the detention of migrants in an irregular situation to be considered only as a last resort.
Sri Lanka has a migrant worker population exceeding 1.8 million.
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti