Saudi Arabia has agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lankan to protect Sri Lankan migrant workers.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said the MoU will be signed soon with the Saudi Arabian government, adding that similar MoU had already been signed with the Oman and Kuwaiti governments, the Xinhua news agency reported.
“For the first time ever the Saudi Arabian government has agreed to sign a MoU with Sri Lanka regarding migrant workers after it had repeatedly rejected such requests in the past. The MoU will include the welfare measures necessary to protect Sri Lankan migrant workers,” Perera said.
He said that discussions were also being held to introduce a quota system on the recruitment of Sri Lankan housemaids to the Middle East per year.
The MoU between the two countries comes just months after Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek was executed by Saudi Arabia for being convicted of killing an infant in her care in 2005 while she was 17 years of age.
The execution took place despite repeated appeals by the Sri Lankan government including President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a pardon for Nafeek from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.
Days after the execution, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia was recalled by the Sri Lankan government and in a tit for tat action Saudi Arabia too recalled its envoy from the island nation.
Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan women seek employment in the Middle East, some of them come back home abused and tortured, according to international human rights groups.