Family Background Report violates migrant women workers' rights | Daily News

Women's activist files public interest litigation

Family Background Report violates migrant women workers' rights

A women's activist yesterday filed a public interest litigation seeking an order to suspend the Family Background Report Circular, which is a requirement for all women migrant workers.

The petitioner, Priyadharshani Ariyarathna stated that she is a women's activist and a human rights activist and filed this writ petition as she is concerned about the rights of the women and discrimination of women due to their gender, age and marital status.

Filing the petition through counsel Lakshan Dias, the petitioner maintained that the Family Background Report (FBR) currently applies only to women and excludes men depriving equal rights for women.

In her petition, the petitioner had cited Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment Chairman, R. K. Obeyesekere, Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary, G. S. Withanage, Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner stated that she filed this case as she found that the directions and the circular dated 04.06. 2015 issued by the Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment and the Secretary for the Foreign Employment Ministry of and welfare are ultra vires and therefore need to be challenged in a public Interest litigation.

The petitioner stated that according to the latest circular issued by the Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary dated 04.06.2015, any woman migrant worker having children under 5 years cannot leave the country.

Any woman migrant worker having children under the age of 5 years cannot leave the country or not recommended for registration that includes to get consent of the spouse for proper care of children.

Women with disabled children cannot go as migrant workers and not recommended. Women who are from Plantation sector need their employers' consent.

The petitioner stated that the entire section of the Maintenance Act which states that the responsibility lies with the spouse and not only the woman yet the Family Background Report currently applies only to women and it excludes men.

The petitioner stated that she found that there is a common trend for some husbands to migrate keeping the children under grandparents' care and in most instances in the care of the spouse without her consent, sometimes not even informing their spouses.

The petitioner stated that FBR not applicable to males at all and there is no responsibility for men to look after or give proper care for the children under 5 years where love and care of the both parents are very much necessary.

The petitioner further states that equal rights of men and women are being violated by the FBR.

The petitioner states that subjecting only migrant women workers, under this circular exempting skilled women and professional women, also further violates the rights of migrant women workers' rights as it would treat women from different tiers of society unequally. 


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