SRI LANKA update 1: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE

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Subject: SRI LANKA update 1: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
From: AHRC Urgent Appeals (ua@ahrchk.org)
Date: Fri Jan 01 1904 - 18:18:16 EST


Dear Friends

Greetings! AHRC UA forward the above mentioned appeal to you last week -
today we were informed of the the fax number of the Airport authorities.
They do not have e-mail.

Furthermore, we learn from our network contacts of similar problems in
India and the steps taken to remedy the abuses. Thus, AHRC UA is proposing
the following remedy to the Airport Autority. You can iclude the following
in your apppeals [I included it in the sugguested letters as follows:

After similar incidents at the international airport in Delhi the Indian
government introduced the simple policy of forcing every taxi leaving the
airport to check with security. The name of the passenger, destination,
license number and taxi driver's name are recorded so that he will be held
responsible for any untoward incident. This policy is also followed in
domestic airport airports. Immediately, the number of incidents almost
stopped completely. I would ask that the Commission make this
recommendation to government
bye
Programme Coordinator
AHRC Urgent Appeals
Asian Human Rights Commission
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ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME
                                                      Index UA: 991015
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UA 56/99: Domestic Workers abused 15 October 1999

Sri Lanka UPDATE: RETURNING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN DANGER
                   OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND RAPE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 Ps.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 transfer 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.

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.

The security of persons using the services of national facilities,
like airports, in general, and in particular, those grouos 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. re: Airport Taxi Service
Mr. Sudarshana Manamperi,
Chairman,
Airport and Aviation Company of Sri Lanka,
Bandaranayike International Airport
Katunayake
Sri Lanka.
Tel: 94-1-256666
Fax: 94-1-253187

3. Minister Hon. A. H. M. Fowzie
Ministry of Transport & Highways
No. 01, D.R. Wijewardana Mawatha,
Colombo 10,
Sri Lanka.
Tel: 687311/ 687105
Fax No: 694547

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.

After similar incidents at the international airport in Delhi the Indian
government introduced the simple policy of forcing every taxi leaving the

airport to check with security. The name of the passenger, destination,
license number and taxi driver's name are recorded so that he will be held
responsible for any untoward incident. This policy is also followed in
domestic airport airports. Immediately, the number of incidents almost
stopped completely.

I would ask that the Commission make this recommendation to government. Be
assured of our support to your commission

Yours Sincerely,

---------------------- 2nd suggested letter ------------------

        Airport Taxi Service
        c/o Mr. Sudarshana Manamperi,
        Chairman,
        Airport and Aviation Company of Sri Lanka,
        Bandaranayike International Airport
        Katunayake
        Sri Lanka.
        Tel: 94-1-256666
        Fax: 94-1-253187

We would like to drae 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.

After similar incidents at the international airport in Delhi the Indian
government introduced the simple policy of forcing every taxi leaving the
airport to check with security. The name of the passenger, destination,
license number and taxi driver's name are recorded so that he will be held
responsible for any untoward incident. This policy is also followed in
domestic airport airports. Immediately, the number of incidents almost
stopped completely.

We urge you to make this recommendation to government.
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Please remember to send a copy of your letter to: ua@ahrchk.org
-----------------------------------------------------------------

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/


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