Army denies allegations on treatment of factory workers

The Army today denied allegations raised over the treatment of factory workers taken to quarantine centers by the military.

Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva insisted that once the need arises to move any close contact of a coronavirus infected person, troops inform all of them by phone well in advance and request them to be ready ahead of being evacuated.

However, in some instances these people take more time for preparations before they board the buses, the Army said.

“No tri-serviceman, as alleged by some quarters in Kalutara, would dare to give only ‘one second’ for such preparations, nor would the troops provide them with uncooked ‘raw fish’ as alleged by them, apparently to suit different agendas of interested parties,” Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said.

Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva insisted that troops treat garment workers, their contacts and family members, in the best possible way considering them as Sri Lankan brothers and sisters.

A complaint has been filed with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) over the alleged arbitrary and illegal manner in which factory workers were recently rounded up.

The complaint also alleges the cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of the factory workers as well as restriction on their freedom of movement and discrimination based on economic and social status of the workers.

The complaint has been made by Chamila Thushari, Chandra Devanarayana, Ashila Dandeniya and Sr. Noel Christine Fernando who represent organisations that work extensively with Free Trade Zone (FTZ) factory workers who are majority women. (Colombo Gazette)

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