DT: The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) has denounced the Sri Lankan government's delay in establishing a permanent mission in the Kingdom.
Although there is already an Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka headed by PB Higgoda, the MWPS said that an embassy or at least a consular office was required to cater to the rising number of Sri Lankan distressed workers.
In an interview with DT, MWPS Chairperson Marietta Dias said, “I don’t have the exact figures with me now, but a large percentage of the cases which we handle are of Sri Lankans.”
“This is largely due to the fact that there is no consular office or embassy here to handle their cases,” Ms Dias added.
She also complained that the work — normally done by a country’s permanent mission — is currently being handled by the MWPS.
She said, “MWPS does most of the work when it comes to distressed Sri Lankan workers even though it should be done by the Sri Lankan Honorary Consulate in Bahrain.”
Cases on the rise
“Sri Lankan cases are populating our list of those who need help whereas the number of Indian cases has reduced due to their embassy’s swift action. There are also some Nepali and Ethiopian cases.”
The MWPS has already brought the issue forward with the Sri Lankan Honorary Consul in Bahrain as well as other government representatives.
However, it appears that the Sri Lankan government has repeatedly ignored their call for the establishment of an embassy.
“We have recommended Mr Higgoda, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait as well as the government in Sri Lanka to open an embassy here for several years now. In fact, since the time we established the society but their reply has always been the same — ‘it will take a few months to open’.”
DT also spoke to Mr Higgoda. He said there were plans to establish an honorary consulate, however, an exact date was not in place.