By Beatrice Thomas
Figures show 450,000 Sri Lankans living in the kingdom with most working as housemaids
The Sri Lankan government has expressed grave concern about the large number of housemaids dying in the GCC with one senior official from the Saudi Sri Lankan Embassy reportedly saying one death was reported every day, it was reported.
Official figures show there are about 450,000 Sri Lankans – almost a third of the 1.5 million Sri Lankan expatriates in the Middle East - living in the kingdom, with the majority working as domestic workers.
According to a senior official from the Sri Lankan Embassy, an average of one death was reported every day, Arab News reported.
“The cause of death is mainly natural and very few cases are due to road accidents,” the official reportedly said.
Asked about the dead bodies of Sri Lankans lying in the kingdom’s mortuaries, he said that there were about 20 bodies awaiting repatriation.
He said it sent about two bodies to Colombo daily to be received by relatives.
An official from the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah said that in the western province it received four to five cases a month.
The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) said between January and October 2012, 75 percent of the bodies returned to Sri Lanka from Gulf states were women below thirty years of age; with majority of cases “determined to be deaths due to heart failure”.
It also said the internal organs in most of the bodies “were reported to be missing”.
SLEA recommended lobbying through international human rights agencies, better guidelines for Sri Lankan missions in the Gulf on employees’ welfare and safety as well as registering all job agencies.
It also recommended harsh penalties for agencies which are not registered and a orientation program “for aspiring migrant workers to improve their soft skills, public relations, ethics and awareness of their rights and duties”.
very sad to hear.. need to take a action without further delay by the both countries government