May 14, Geneva: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Sri Lanka from 19 to 26 May 2014 to assess the human rights situation of Sri Lankans migrating abroad for work, and the related recruitment practices.
This is the first mission to Sri Lanka by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation of migrants around the world, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement.
"Migration plays a key role in the economic development of Sri Lanka. Foreign workers form 24% of the labour force, and remittances form 33% of the country's foreign exchange and 8.3% of its GDP," Mr. Crépeau said.
The human rights expert however, noted that many migrants reportedly experience abuse and exploitation, which often begins already during the recruitment process. "This visit represents a unique opportunity to assess their situation on the ground," he said.
During his eight-day mission to the country, Mr. Crépeau will meet with a range of government officials responsible for migration and labour, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and both prospective and returned migrants, to discuss how to better protect the human rights of migrants, including in the recruitment process.
He is expected to address recruitment practices of labor migrants while looking at a number of relevant topics, including the legal and institutional framework, bilateral agreements signed with migrant receiving States, pre-departure training and information provided to prospective migrants, the role and regulation of private recruitment agencies and brokers (sub-agents), recruitment fees, consular assistance provided to Sri Lankan migrants in their country of employment, and reintegration services offered to returned migrants.
The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015.