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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

Given that May Day was celebrated last week, it occurred to me that I had been rather cursory in my discussion of Labour Rights a few weeks back. This was not entirely arbitrary, for the section on Labour Rights is by far the shortest in the National Human Rights Action Plan.

This in turn is understandable for we really have a very good record as far as Labour Rights go. However we cannot be complacent, for apart from the fact that we can do more, we must note that we have been attacked in this regard by two powerful critics. When we lost GSP+, even though obviously the reasons were political, with a twisting of the knife by the former British government and its representatives, there were nevertheless allegations made against us with regard to our labour laws.

These have also surfaced through the American Labour Movement, ironically one might say because a lot of the objections apply to regulations in the Free Trade Zone, and these were introduced precisely to provide incentives to American investors and others who are used to much more docile labour unions. But the capacity to speak with forked tongue of those determined to screw us should never be underestimated, and we should not therefore allow them any excuse. While it may well be in the interests of Labour itself to remove some of the stipulations about dismissal, so that we can encourage more employment opportunities, the claims of equity and basic security should not be forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

June 2012
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