Lankan Consulate failed to help injured housemaid
Friday April 22, 2005
DUBAI: A good Samaritan, running from pillar to post for the repatria- tion of a runaway Sri Lankan housemaid, who escaped from the clutches of a prostitution racket two months ago, has accused the Sri Lankan Consulate officials of dilly-dallying.
Amali Wijiyatunga, 25, has been undergoing treatment in Rashid Hospital here for the injuries she suffered while jumping off a Deira apartment to escape her tormentors.
Ravi Jayakody, a Sri Lankan expatriate, who has taken up the case, has accused the consulate officials, especially the labour officer, of not taking sufficient interest in the case.
"I am no social worker, but Amali's case caught my attention because of the magnitude of her suffering and no help in sight.
She is currently bed-ridden in hospital having suffered serious injuries. Her six-week treatment has resulted in a huge bill of Dh17,000, which the Consulate has refused to pick up," Jayakody said.
Meanwhile, P.D. Fernando, the Sri Lankan Consul-General, who visited her in the hospital yesterday, has assured her that he will take personal interest in the case and facilitate early repatriation.
He said that the Consulate has found her visa details and con- firmed she had arrived in the UAE through the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).
Earlier, the Labour Consul had denied that Amali had arrived in the UAE through the employment bureau, which means she will not be entitled to the insurance scheme benefits for overseas Sri Lankan workers. Besides, by entering the country privately, he said, she had made it very difficult to trace her resident status and details of her sponsor.
Amali, who arrived in Ras Al Khaimah in 2003 to work as a house- maid for an Asian family, had run away from her sponsor after working for a year and three months. She then worked as a domes- tic in Sharjah in various homes.
When she returned to her sponsor for her passport, she was asked to pay Dh5,000 of which she paid Dh4,000 from her savings. Amali has alleged that her sponsor later forced her to entertain men in an apartment in Deira, in the guise of providing her shelter till her return journey. She jumped off the apartment when one of the men threatened to kill her. The Police took a seriously injured Amali to hospital.
Jayakody said he was surprised that the Consulate officials, especially, the Labour officer, had been sitting on Amali's case, while she was lying in Rashid Hospital.
"The Labour official reportedly visited her only once in the hospital and had failed to retrieve her passport details from the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to speed up repatriation formalities, despite Amali's pleas to help her return home early to meet her children and terminally ill husband suffering from brain tumour."