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The first National Legal Guidance Committee meeting (NLGC) organized by the Safe Migration Unit of Caritas Sri Lanka was held on 24th January 2017 at SEDEC.
The setting up of the National Legal Guidance Committee is an important activity under the project “Provision of Services to Sri Lankan Migrant Workers and their Families” which is funded by the Federal government of the Switzerland, through the Embassy of Switzerland.
The NLGC composes of several experts in the field of labour migration, such as Dr. Ramani Jayasundera, Senior Technical Advisor, The Asia Foundation and Mr. Sujeewa Lal Dahanayake, Attorney-at-Law, Representative from Lawyers Beyond Borders. The NLGC is further strengthened by the presence of the Venerable Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevli Nayake Thero, Viharadhipathi of the Nagadeepa Viharaya Dematagoda who is expected to represent the interests of the larger community through his counsel & guidance. The Representatives of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment; HELVITAS and Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC) were also represented at this initial meeting and will serve as key members of the NLGC.
Welcoming the participants, the National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka, Rev.Fr. Shanthi Kumar Weliwita stated that Safe Migration and Anti Human Trafficking have become 2nd priority area in the Strategic Plan of Caritas Asia. Therefore, we need to give more attention to this subject, he further said.
The purpose of the NLGC is to serve the project in an advisory role by providing advice, counsel and guidance in enhancing the project activities carried out by Caritas Sri Lanka and its project implementing partners in the districts of Colombo, Kurunegala, Nuwara Eiya, Ampara, Batticaloa and Jaffna. The NLGC at its first meeting reached consensus that it would also serve as a high level advocacy group to lobby and influence the relevant Policy and Decision Makers towards greater well-being of Sri Lankan migrant workers especially to the Middle East and their families.
The NLGC is expected to meet at least three times a year with Caritas Sri Lanka serving as the Secretariat for its activities.
At the meeting the implementing Partners shared their issues and discussed matters pertaining to the complaint handling mechanism, capacity of the district level SLBFE officers, awareness of the insurance and compensation mechanisms and agreed to cooperate with future planning.