Press Releases Archive
12th October 2011 - Sri Lanka Completes National Research Agenda on Health and Social Status of Migrants – The Sri Lankan government will publish a national research agenda on the health and social status of migrants and mobile populations on Thursday October 13th at a high level symposium in Colombo.
The report, commissioned by the Inter-Ministerial Task force on Migration Health, with technical and financial support from IOM, addresses the health and social status of internal, out-bound, in-bound migrants, and the impact of migration on the families that they leave behind.
High level government officials, policy makers, representatives of the UN, NGOs and academics, are expected to attend the symposium, which will discuss the key findings and formulate recommendations for national planning and policy action.
The project was directed by an inter-ministerial steering committee from the ministries of Health, Defence, Immigration, Labour, Social Services, National Planning, Foreign Employment, the Board of Investment, Finance, Economic Affairs and State Insurance, chaired by the Secretary of Health.
IOM provided funding for through its 1035 facility and formulated the research agenda, based on desk reviews and five commissioned research projects.
Closer cooperation between government departments to cope with health and social issues relating to migrants has already led to some improvements in border health management and better health service support for migrants, notably refugees returning to Sri Lanka from India.
Nearly 5,900 registered refugees have returned to Sri Lanka’s Northern Province from camps in Tamil Nadu since the end of the conflict in 2009, but an estimated 73, 210 remain.
“It is very important to register all the returning refugees and integrate them with the local health system to screen and to ensure continuity of healthcare for them,” says Dr. P.G. Mahipala, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Health.
IOM has developed a health booklet with the Ministry of Health that includes essential information for returnees on health promotion and the health system. It covers topics ranging from the risks associated with landmines, emergency management of burns, how to cope with blast injuries and snakebites, through mother and child health and breastfeeding.
The booklets have been distributed to returning refugees through local authorities in Northern districts and via the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR.)
For more information please contact Richard Danziger at IOM Colombo. Email: email@example.com. Tel. +94.11532.5300.
IOM and the Australian Government Hand Over Fish Market, Storage Facility to Jaffna Fishing Community
Sri Lanka, August 29th , 2011:IOM, in close cooperation with Australia’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Sri Lankan central and local government authorities, will today hand over a large auction centre and multi-purpose storage facility to the Mathagal Rural Fishermen Organization (MRFO) in the Sandilipay DS Division of Jaffna District.
The buildings will be used by 700 fishing families from Mathagal East, West and South registered with six Fishermen’s Cooperative Societies (FCS) to auction their catch and to store their tools and equipment at their anchoring point. The facility will also provide an area for engine repairs and maintenance and a place to mend their nets.
The LKR 5.9 million (USD 55,000) project is part of a 3-year IOM community stabilisation programme in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Central Provinces funded by AusAID.
“This project is a good example of IOM and the Australian Government’s efforts to sustain the return and socio-economic development of conflict-affected populations in the Northern Province through partnering closely with both communities and the government” said IOM Sri Lanka Chief of Mission Richard Danziger.
For more information please contact Udara Soysa at IOM Colombo. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel. +94 (0) 11 5325300 Ext 352.
As part of the CLSP, IOM has been providing training on Access to Credit (A2C) in Ampara District, which was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami and years of civil unrest, to educate the population on how to take advantage of formal credit facilities.
While there are a number of institutions offering credit to small businesses and individuals in Ampara, there is relatively poor understanding of how they work, leading people to use informal credit networks that often charge much higher rates, according to IOM Sri Lanka Chief of Mission Richard Danziger,
“There are a number of low interest loan schemes tailored to the needs of small businesses offered by banks and other lending institutions in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, too many people remain unaware of this or misunderstand how these loans work,” he says.
Some 1,080 people who participated in the A2C training are expected to visit the “Credit Fair”, which will run through Saturday and Sunday (21-22/5) in Ampara.
“This training has helped us overcome myths about credit. Many of us used to think that there was a lot of paperwork, that interest rates were too high and that big businessmen are favoured. Now we know this is not true. We can save a lot of money by using formal credit and can also receive other business development services from banks,” says one A2C participant, who now runs a small shop in Irakkamam.
IOM’s EU-funded CLSP programme, which focuses on rebuilding social and productive infrastructure and livelihoods in Ampara District, has implemented some 110 projects serving more than quarter of a million residents. Some 45,000 people have been direct beneficiaries of the programme.
For more information please contact Duminda Perera at IOM Ampara. Email: email@example.com Tel. 94.71.536.2989.
Sri Lanka, March 11, 2011: IOM will organize a workshop on labour migration research and foreign employment recruitment monitoring at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo on Monday, 14th March.
The event, which will be chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare (MFEPW), Col. Nishanka Wijeratne, will focus on the issue of foreign recruitment monitoring and will share the findings of a recent IOM study: Foreign Labour Migration Prospects for Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lankan migrant workers are the highest foreign exchange earners for Sri Lanka. Safeguarding their rights and providing adequate welfare and protection for them and their family members is a priority of the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and IOM intends to support them in achieving these goals,” says IOM Sri Lanka Chief of Mission Richard Danziger.
The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare has launched a number of initiatives, including a proposal to introduce a Migrant Workers’ Charter, and a proposal to increase the minimum age of migrant workers from 18 to 21, as part of a plan to develop a higher-skilled Sri Lankan overseas labour force.
Another recent initiative is the Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE)’s new Migrant Resource Centre, which provides regularly updated information to Sri Lankans interested in working abroad and to their families.
As part of the Centre’s activities, IOM and SLBFE will be organizing ten awareness-raising seminars across the island and producing and distributing a video and handbook on safe migration and guidance on how best to prepare for employment overseas.
As part of the ongoing cooperation between the Government of Sri Lanka and IOM, government representatives will be attending the IOM-organized Regional Conference and Market Place for Labour Migration in Jaipur, India later this month, along with representatives from the governments of India, Bangladesh and several European countries.
For further information please contact Udara Soysa in Colombo, Tel. +94.11.532.5300. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The programme, which was funded by the United States Government Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was designed to sensitize judges on general characteristics of human trafficking, national and international legislation related to trafficking, and the protection of victims of trafficking.
According to Richard Danziger, Chief of Mission for IOM in Sri Lanka, “The training of judges and magistrates is a crucial element in combating human trafficking. It is therefore gratifying to see the engagement of the judiciary in Sri Lanka and their desire to increase the number of prosecutions for this crime.”
The programme included modules on local and international law, human rights, differences between trafficking and smuggling, and the provision of medical care for traumatized victims.
To date, IOM has also trained over 2,000 Sri Lankan law enforcement officers in the areas of victim identification, protection and prosecution of traffickers through a series of nationwide workshops developed in close cooperation with the Sri Lanka Police Department, the Attorney General’s Department, the Immigration and Emigration Department and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment.
For more information please contact Anuradhi Navaratnam at IOM Colombo, Email: email@example.com Tel: +94 (0)11 5325300.