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Last updated: 30 August, 2010 - Published 14:36 GMT
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'Ban' housemaids to Saudi

LP Ariyawathie at the hopsital (file photo by Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk Kankanamge)
Doctors have removed 13 nails and more needles from Ms. Ariyawathie's body after a surgery

Human rights activists in Sri Lanka have urged the Sri Lankan government to ban sending housemaids to Saudi Arabia until the country signs international agreements on labour rights.

Opposition parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake accused the government of failing to provide enough assistance and compensation to the housemaid LP Ariyawathie, who was tortured in Saudi Arabia.

“She is entitled to Rs. 100,000 from her insurance but she is only paid Rs. 15,000,” Mr. Ramanayake, who has been campaigning for the rights of Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East said.

Hundreds of Sri Lankan housemaids and activists demonstrated outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Colombo demanding justice for Ms. Ariyawathie.

 She is entitled to Rs. 100,000 from her insurance but she is only paid Rs. 15,000
Ranjan Ramanayake, MP

The protestors handed over a petition to the embassy demanding justice to LP Ariyawathi and requesting Saudi Arabia to agree on UN labour rights.

Sri Lankan woman activist Ms. Kumduni Samuel told the BBC: "We are fighting for secure working condition for our workers abroad, but Sri Lankan government must also take responsibility to ensure that all its workers abroad particularly its women migrant workers are given safe and secure working condition according to the standards of the migrant rights convention".

Emotional plea

Protestors also accused the government and the Foreign Employment Bureau stating that they are only worried to get foreign exchange remittances from the housemaids but do not care about the sufferings and loss of life of the housemaids.

Several housemaids and their relatives who were present addressed the media.

Some were complaining about the mistreatment they received while some wanted to bring back their loved ones whom they say are detained in a camp.

 They sent my daughters body to me claiming that she was accident, I have details that she was killed after torturing but no one take serious of my complain, My daughter was there only for seven dates
A father whose daughter has died in Saudi Arabia

Three year old Isuri who came to the protest with her aunt said emotionally: "Please bring back my mother and aunty."

According to relatives "Isuri's mother and aunt are in a camp waiting to come to Sri Lanka."

Mr. WD Sirisena whose daughter died in Saudi Arabia complained that his daughter had been killed after being torturing.

"They sent my daughter's body to me claiming that it was an accident. I have details that she was killed after being tortured but no one take my complaint seriously, My daughter was there only for seven days," he said.

Last week Sri Lankan doctors removed 13 nails and five needles from the Sri Lankan housemaid who said her employer in Saudi Arabia hammered them into her body.

Doctors say that her health condition is improving.

Nails removed from 'tortured' maid
27 August, 2010 | Sandeshaya
Saudi housemaid tortured with nails
24 August, 2010 | Sandeshaya
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