Sri Lanka forum in push for South Asian migration action

Nov 28, 2011 (LBO) – A unified South Asian institutional framework to handle migration issues would help improve the status of millions of expatriate workers and combat human trafficking, economists and officials said. Richard Denziger, chief of mission of IOM Sri Lanka said a regional consultative process would bring together governments and international organizations for information exchange and discussing common issues even in a non-binding format. Saman Kelegama, head of the Sri Lanka’s Institute of Policy Studies said South Asian migrant workers were vulnerable in many destination countries facing problems in safety, labour exploitation and possible trafficking.

The establishment of a common institutional framework for the region would ensure collective action to improve conditions for migrant workers.

Kelegama was speaking at a forum on taking forward a ‘South Asia Migration Commission’.

Though millions of South Asians were working in areas such as the Middle East, there was no global institutional framework to deal with migrant labour issues.

A multilateral consultative process would be more effective than individual bi-lateral action, Kelegama said.

Yuko Hamada, from the Internationa