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UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT TO ASSESS THE SITUATION OF SRI LANKANS MIGRATING ABROAD FOR WORK
14 May 2014

GENEVA / COLOMBO (14 May 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Sri Lanka from 19 to 26 May 2014 to assess the human rights situation of Sri Lankans migrating abroad for work, and the related recruitment practices.

“Migration plays a key role in the economic development of Sri Lanka. Foreign workers form 24% of the labour force, and remittances form 33% of the country’s foreign exchange and 8.3% of its GDP,” Mr. Crépeau said.

“However,” the human rights expert noted, “many migrants reportedly experience abuse and exploitation, which often begins already during the recruitment process.” “This visit represents a unique opportunity to assess their situation on the ground,” he said.

This is the first mission to Sri Lanka by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation of migrants around the world.

During his eight-day mission to the country, Mr. Crépeau will meet with a range of government officials responsible for migration and labour, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and both prospective and returned migrants, to discuss how to better protect the human rights of migrants, including in the recruitment process. 

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of the visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2015.

François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Crépeau is also Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, in Montréal, where he holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/migration/rapporteur/index.htm

‘Labour exploitation of migrants’ - Check the Special Rapporteur’s 2014 report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/SRMigrants/A.HRC.26.35.pdf

Read the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CMW.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Sri Lanka: http://www.ohchr.org/en/countries/asiaregion/pages/lkindex.aspx 
         
For more information and media requests, please contact: Christel Mobech (+41 79 201 0119 / cmobech@ohchr.org)

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR14/130E