Sri Lanka to set up consulate in Bahrain
Manama, July 6, 2012
Sri Lanka will set up a diplomatic mission in Bahrain for its 20,000-strong community before the end of the year, a top visiting government delegation announced.
The delegation held a closed-door meeting attended by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment chairman Amal Senalankadhikara, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency chairman Senaka D Abeyagoonasekera and Honorary Consul General P B Higgoda.
Sources said the meeting was chaired by newly appointed non-resident Sri Lankan Ambassador to Bahrain Chandrasekara Atapattu Mudiyaselage Wijeratne, who is also Ambassador to Kuwait.
It follows years of complaints by Sri Lankan migrant workers, who claimed their rights have been ignored by their government because they did not have a proper diplomatic presence in Bahrain.
"It was during the meeting that Mr Senalankadhikara told the attendees they were planning to open a consulate office in Bahrain by the end of the year to address all the issues faced by its nationals," added the source.
The meeting was not open to the Press or rights activists, but that did not stop Migrant Workers Protection Society members from showing up and raising concerns faced by domestic workers in the country.
Our sister publication the Gulf Daily News reported in May that Sri Lankans planned to launch a petition demanding an envoy in Bahrain, following claims that some were facing unnecessary obstacles in completing basic consular tasks as all matters were dealt with by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait.
Meanwhile, Higgoda, along with Senalankadhikara and Abeyagoonasekera, yesterday met with officials from the Labour Market Regulatory Authority in Sanabis to discuss steps taken to protect foreign workers and further co-operation, especially on increasing the level of awareness about rights and duties of labourers. – TradeArabia News Service