Expedite repatriation of Lankans stranded in West Asia


We must convey our heart-felt condolences to the loved ones on the shocking deaths of the Sri Lankan returnees from Kuwait, who succumbed to the deadly Covid-19 virus. Their sad deaths, although in all probability yet another statistic to officials, must be an eye opener to the authorities concerned about the pathetic plight of Sri Lankan workers toiling under harsh conditions in the scorching West Asian countries. The number of Covid-19 positive cases among returnees from these countries is alarmingly high.

The ‘most unkindest cut of all’ is perhaps the order for them to stay put wherever they are. It is like shutting the door at home when one needed shelter most. Pushed to the wall, they bided their time against all odds awaiting their turn.

Sadly, only a few are aware of their contribution to the national economy by way of remittances. Yet, they are the very ones who receive the least attention, despite pleading with all their might for help.

Countries around the world are easing lockdown restrictions and opening up their borders even to visitors. Sri Lanka is also gradually coming to grips with the new normal. Those seeking repatriation are all Sri Lankan citizens and they have every right to return home. What moral right do we have to prevent them from doing so? Those afflicted with Covid-19 must be treated and others allowed to be reunited with their loved ones on completion of mandatory quarantine. Delay will lead to deaths and repercussions will inevitably be costly. One can imagine their helplessness in an inhospitable foreign country.

In this hour of need, compassionate people, who uphold the noble virtues of compassion and loving kindness, must not abandon the hapless Sri Lankan migrant workers. It is high time the higher-ups in the Foreign Employment Bureau in Sri Lanka and Diplomatic Missions in the Middle Eastern countries took action to expedite the repatriation of the Sri Lankan workers stranded in coronavirus hotspots.


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