Sri Lanka ex-Tiger combatants in apparel jobs: report

May 30, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Tri-Star Apparel Exporters group has recruited a batch of ex-Tamil Tiger combatants to work at its garment factories and has expressed willingness to employ more, a media report said. There had been fears of Sri Lanka losing competitiveness as well as loss of trade concessions from Europe later in the year over rights abuses.

In the first quarter of 2010 Sri Lanka’s apparel exports fell 14.9 percent from a year earlier.

The Sunday Island newspaper said the first batch of trainees would join the group’s factory in Ratmalana, south of Colombo on Monday.

The reported quoted Tri-Star chairman Kumar Devapura as saying that he was willing to employ up to 1,500 ex-Tiger combatants in his factories.

The group which has 15 factories the report was planning to set up two new plants in Jaffna and Kilinochchi in the north of the country, the report said,

Sri Lanka has captured about 12,000 Tamil Tiger cadres in the last stages of the war.

Tri-Star had recently opened a factory in Polpithigama, employing 600 workers including 250 relatives of military personnel.

Another factory in Thambalagamuwa, Trincomalee in the north east had employed about 400 workers fr