UN expert to visit Sri Lanka to assess contemporary forms of slavery

The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, will undertake his first country visit to Sri Lanka from 26 November to 3 December 2021.

He will examine the labour conditions in various economic sectors, including in the garment industry, the tea plantations, tourism and domestic work.

The Special Rapporteur also intends to assess the implementation of laws and policies and systemic barriers that hamper access to decent work, including for migrant workers in Sri Lanka.

“In light of the commitments made by the Government of Sri Lanka to achieve target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, I am particularly interested in assessing to what extent progress has already been achieved in this regard, which shortcomings may persist and through which measures they can be addressed,” Obokata said.

SDG target 8.7 requires States to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.

“I look forward to fruitful, substantive discussions on issues related to contemporary forms of slavery with representatives from all branches of the State, representatives of trade unions and civil society actors,” Obokata said.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on his visit at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council to be held in September 2022. (Colombo Gazette)

1 COMMENT

  1. The world powers created the UN after they settled with big countries with lots of resources.

    China and Russia do not trust western countries but South Asians who fought against the western imperialism have been ignoring their past and become allies of the West. This shows your ability to think. This is why you cannot even create one developed country. Ignoring Mahathma Gandhi is a dangerous policy. Eventually, you will realise your stupidity but it will be too late to undo the damages.

    THE EXTERMINATION

    In the 18th century, the British began to settle European convicts on the island of Tasmania. Criminals were removed from mainland Australia due to severe crimes and sent to Tasmania. The convicts kidnapped Aboriginal children for servants, women for concubines and killed or mutilated the men, in order to conquer their homelands. In 1828, Governor Arthur ordered that all Tasmanian Aboriginals must leave the island where Europeans had settled. To enforce the order, government-sponsored ‘patrol teams’ made up of prisoners led by policemen. The patrol team chased and killed Aboriginal people, this hunt was known as ‘catching blacks’. It became a job or business venture for the patrol teams; to encourage the killing a price was set for Aboriginal heads; five British pounds for an adult, and two pounds for a child. The patrol teams killed Aboriginal people and dumped their bodies off a cliff, known today as Victory Hill. Arthur was encouraged, after John Batman, a well-known leader, later founding father of Melbourne, who shot two Aboriginals while they were in his custody (Combat Genocide Association 2019).

    Evidence indicates that the British orchestrated genocidal policies and practices surreptitiously on Aboriginal people and their culture. According to Professor Tom Lawson, the British effectively supported the ethnic cleansing of Aboriginal Tasmanians during the period of martial law between 1828 and 1832. Professor Lawson made a compelling case for the Tasmanian genocide. He further states that the colonists’ terms were ‘extermination and extirpation’ when they discussed the colonial invasion of the homelands of the island’s Aboriginal inhabitants (Lawson 2014). Nick Brodie argues that the genocide was highly orchestrated, but deliberately downplayed, in order to eliminate Aboriginal people. Brodie used over 1,000 pages of Colonel George Arthur’s handwritten documents, informing exactly how he executed the genocide in Tasmania (Brodie 2017).

    Arthur leaked stories to the press to gain support from the people. He publicly announced ‘retirement’ for people who continued to support the genocide, and also selective evidence was given to the investigative committee to cover up his atrocities. Arthur also declared that details of the genocide had to become top secret and continued with military offensives against the remaining Aboriginal people (Harman 2018). Most of the Aboriginal people had been forcibly removed from their homeland and killed, or had died from introduced disease (Lourandos 1997). The last Tasmanian Aboriginal, Truganini, watched her people being massacred, her mother killed by sailors, her uncle shot by soldiers, her sister abducted by sealers, and her fiancé brutally murdered by timber cutters. She was raped and exiled. Truganini lived through the mass killing of her own family members, relatives, friends and other Tasmanian Aboriginals (Morris 2017).

    Notably, white Australians did not even rescue one Aboriginal Tasmanian, but Germans had rescued Jews from the Nazis’ genocides. Recently, Israel’s Holocaust memorial council declared Major Karl Plagge righteous among the nations, alongside men such as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler, for an elaborate deception that saved about 250 Jewish lives. In 1931, Plagge, an engineer, joined the Nazi party to develop the wealth of Germany, but he became disillusioned due to their racial ideology. ‘He felt he had helped create this monster and that it was his duty to try to help these imperilled Jews.’ About 90 per cent of the 57,000 Jews who lived in Vilnius were murdered, but 10 per cent were saved by Plagge. In 1958, just before his death, he told a friend. , ‘I never felt that this needed special courage. It required only the conviction and strength that anyone can draw from the depth of moral feelings that exist in all humans.’ (McGreal 2005).

    Genocides in North America

    Professor Taiaiake Alfred is a Kahnawake Mohawk educator and writer and the founding director of the University of Victoria’s indigenous governance programs in Canada. He argues celebrating ‘America’s 400th Birthday’ ignores the genocide of the continent’s native people. ‘It’s hard for a native person to be anything but shocked and saddened to the core by the effrontery of it all. Jamestown 2007 is, in essence, a surreptitious celebration of the conquest of our homeland and the destruction of our people in the service of imperialism and the expansion of the white race. It marks the era that saw indigenous peoples ravaged by diseases introduced by European settlers, on average, our communities lost 75 percent of their populations and the dispossession of our homelands by fraud and deceit – not a single treaty entered into by the English Crown or the US has been honoured by the white settlers.’ (Taiakake 2007).

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