News/SRI LANKA: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE

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Subject: News/SRI LANKA: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
From: Human Rights School (hrschool@ahrchk.org)
Date: Thu Oct 21 1999 - 13:06:20 EDT


A S I A N H U M A N R I G H T S C O M M I S S I O N
U R G E N T A P P E A L P R O G R A M M E
                                                                 UA Index
991015
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UA 56/99: Domestic Workers abused 15 October
1999

Sri Lanka: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
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DOMESTIC WORKERS RETURNING TO THE COUNTRY ARE DUPED BY AIRPORT TAXI SERVICE
AND IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE BY CRIMINAL GANGS

10 October 1999, The Island, a Sri Lankan daily, reported that domestic
workers, upon returning home after their stint of work in foreign
countries, are being systematically preyed on by gangs operating in
collaboration with the Airport Taxi Service.

The Island reported on police raiding a private guest house in the Dambulla
Police Area which led to the rescue of 4 women from being sexually
assaulted by the 6 men. One of the women had already been raped by 2 of the
men. The women had paid Rs.40,000 to the taxi service to
take them to their homes. But soon after leaving the BIA they were handed
over by the taxi drivers to these 6 men.

Reports indicate that the police are aware of the gangs ' operational
methods. The women are often transferred from a vehicle of the taxi
service to one of the gangs operating outside the BIA. The women who have
to travel to their homes in outlying districts outside Colombo are told
that it would be unsafe to travel on at night. The gang then brings them to
a guest house. The same men may later force their way into the rooms and
abuse the women. Women had also been forced to pose in the nude and
photographed.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The issue is basically one of criminal sexual violence-rape-against women.
But this particular case has broader implications which exacerbate the
graveness of the injustice done to women overseas domestic workers.

1.The lack of respect for women who have already undergone much suffering
and hardship as overseas domestic workers, and thus, non-recognition of
their contribution to the welfare of their families and of the national
economy.
2. The security of persons using the services of national facilities, like
airports, in general, and in particular, those groups who are more
vulnerable to such crimes.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please write letters, faxes and emails as soon as
possible. According to the newspaper report, some of those responsible have
been apprehended by the police, as the beginning of a criminal prosecution
procedure.

SEND APPEALS TO:

1. Mr. O S M Seneviratne
      Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
      50 Dr N M Perera Mawatha
      Borella
      Colombo 8
      Sri Lanka
      FaXES: 94 -1- 694 924
      Email: Commissioner Arivaratne <arisar@sri.lanka.net>
      Email: Commissioner Aluwihare <aluwihare@popmail.pdn.ac.lk>

2. Airport Taxi Service
   C\O Director
   Colombo Airport

   Katunayake
   Sri Lanka
   Tel: 94-1-45 2911

SEND COPIES TO:

1. Tourist Police
   Director
   New Scretariat Building
   Colombo 1
   Sri Lanka
   Tel: 94-1- 32 6941

2. Mr. Ratnasirei Wickremenayake
   Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affair
   Indpendence Square,
   Colombo 07
   Sri Lanka
   Fax: 94-1- 695 279 or 691-044

and Diplomatic representatives of the Sri Lanka accredited to your country.

---------------------------- SUGGGESTED LETTER
---------------------------------------------

Mr. O S M Seneviratne
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
50 Dr N M Perera Mawatha
Borella
Colombo 8
Sri Lanka
Telephone (94 1) 696 610
Facsimile (94 1) 694 924
Commissioner Arivaratne <arisar@sri.lanka.net>
Commissioner Aluwihare <aluwihare@popmail.pdn.ac.lk>

We would like to draw your attention to the reports on rape and harassment
of several women returning from employment abroad, during their travel from
airport to their homes. It appears that such acts have been done in
connivance with the Airport Taxi Services. (The Island, 10-10-99)

We are concerned about this matter, as this violates the right of movement
and right to security of the affected persons. We are particularly
concerned that the persons victimised are returning women overseas
domestic workers. We are
aware of the very difficult conditions under which they work outside their
country, and the difficulties of their families . Inspite of this, it is
known that their remittances contribute 20% of the foreign earnings of the
country.
No one will doubt the gravity of the injustice done to them.
As the National Human Rights Commission you have the mandate to inquire
into this matter and suggest corrective action, for the particular persons
concerned and also regarding the general situation. We urge you to thus
investigate the matter and share your findings with the government as well
as the public.

Be assured of our support to your commission

Yours Sincerely,

--------------------------- 2nd suggested letter
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   Airport Taxi Service
   C\O Director
   Colombo Airport
   Katunayake
   Sri Lanka
   Tel: 94-1-45 2911

We would like to draw your attention to the reports on rape and harassment
of several women returning from employment abroad, during their travel from
airport to their homes. It appears that such acts have been done in
connivance with the air port taxi services.
(The Island, 10-10-’99)
We are concerned about this matter, as this violates the right of movement
and right to security of the affected persons. We are particularly
concerned as these persons are migrant worker women. We are aware of the
very difficult conditions under which they work outside their country, and
the difficulties of their families . Inspite of this it is known that
their remittances
contribute 20% of the foreign earnings of the country. No one will doubt
the gravity of the injustice done to them.

It is your authority’s duty to provide a secure Taxi Service for the
public. This involves your duty to examine the malpractices and wrongdoings
and to take appropriate action. We urge you to take action on this matter
and also to prevent future occurrences of this kind.

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Please remember to send a copy of your letter to: ua@pacific.net.hk

A S I A N H U M A N R I G H T S C O M M I S S I O N
______________________________________________________
AHRC Ugent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission
Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre
16 - 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG
Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339
Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367
AHRC Urgent Appeals E-mail: ua@ahrchk.org
Programme Coordinators' E-mail: samysd@pacific.net.hk
______________________________________________________

<http://is7.pacific.net.hk/~ahrchk>http://is7.pacific.net.hk/~ahrchk
______________________________________________________
Visit the Asian Human Rights Commission's Campaign For Recognition of
State-sponsored Disappearances as a Crime Against Humanity
website: <http://www.disappearances.com/>http://www.disappearances.com/

_________________________________
Lin Chew
Human Rights School

Asian Human Rights Commission
Unit D, 7/F Mongkok Commercial Centre
16-16B Argyle Street
Kowloon Hong Kong
Tel. (852) 2698 6339
Fax.(852) 2698 6367
email: hrschool@ahrchk.org
web: www.hrschool.org

personal: linchew@compuserve.com


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