We’ve recently received worrying reports about the plight of several hundred (and possibly as many as a thousand) Sri Lankan garment workers in Jordan – many of whom have not been paid for over a month now, after factories began shutting down due to the Covid-19 crisis. According to our sources, the workers are now stuck in industrial zone housing units without adequate access to food and basic supplies, or the means to return to Sri Lanka. Some of them say that they were deceived into signing blank resignation forms, with the result that they have lost out on social benefits that could help keep them afloat.

With workers left high and dry by their employers, we believe it is time for the government of Sri Lanka to step up and support the workers – including by delivering urgent humanitarian supplies, and offering to arrange transport home to Sri Lanka for those who request it. Throughout the current health crisis, the government has been keen to emphasise the effort that it has put into ensuring the safe return of foreign students and stranded tourists, so much so that it has recently sought to brand itself as the “most generous country during Covid19.” But sadly, it appears that generosity has not been extended to some of its most marginalised – yet economically vital – citizens abroad.

Ten days ago the Sri Lanka Campaign wrote to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Jordan and the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry to ask what steps they were taking to support the workers. But unfortunately, we still haven’t heard back. That’s where you come in.

 

Please help us ensure that the government finally takes notice of this issue by doing one of the following:

  • Email the Embassy today using our handy letter template below (containing a list of key targets and their emails); or
  • If you’re on Twitter, share our latest infographic and ‘tag’ the accounts of the Sri Lankan Embassy and Foreign Ministry

Both of these steps will take less than five minutes. But they could make a decisive difference to the lives of those who are paying the heaviest price during the pandemic and are in urgent need of assistance.

Please don’t wait. Act now.

Thank you.

 

Template letter:

 

FAO:

Mr A L Mohamed Lafeer, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Jordan (slemb.amman@mfa.gov.uk)

 

CC:

Mr Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka (cypher@mfa.gov.uk; consular@mfa.gov.uk)

Mr John Senewiratne, Minister of Labour, Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development (slmol@slt.lk)

 

Dear Ambassador Lafeer,

 

I am deeply concerned by reports about the worsening humanitarian conditions faced by several hundred (and possibly as many as a thousand) Sri Lankan workers in Jordan – many of whom have not been paid for over a month now, after factories began shutting down due to the Covid-19 crisis. According to reports, many are now stuck in industrial zone housing units without adequate access to food and basic supplies, or the means to return to Sri Lanka.

 

These workers are the responsibility of the government, and as such, it is now up to the Embassy in Jordan to act to support them. The Sri Lankan government has taken decisive action during the current health crisis to return its foreign students and to repatriate tourists – but that generosity must be extended to some of its most marginalised and vulnerable citizens too.

 

To that end, I urge you to:

  • Outline what steps the Embassy is taking to support workers who have lost their jobs
  • Provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the workers
  • Offer safe transport home to Sri Lanka for those workers who request it

Please act now.

 

Yours sincerely,

[your name]