Celebrating International Migrants Day 2014

The 15th Annual International Migrants Day was celebrated by the Action Network for Migrant Workers (ACTFORM) and Women and Media Collective (WMC) in Colombo at the Mahaveli Centre.

As the country prepares for the 2015 presidential elections ACTFORM reminds us that migrant workers are deprived of their voting privileges. Being one of the larger foreign exchange earners it is imperative that Sri Lanka secure the voting rights of women migrant workers by taking an example from countries that have done so in the past. The right for migrant workers to vote has been recognised by Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and International Covenant on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their families (ICMW) thus it is a responsibility that Sri Lanka cannot ignore any longer.

Speaking at the event Kumudini Samuel of Women and Media Collective said “this is not a problem that should be spoken only during election time. ACTFORM has been around for 15 years. From the time ACTFORM began I remember that through David Soysa and Viola Perera we decided to fight for voting rights and win it on behalf of migrant women. However due to various issues, including issues faced by migrant women, we remain stagnant. We forget that to practice our voter rights we don’t need elections to come along. In 1931 for two to three years there was a fight to win voting rights for women and labourers. This was initiated through trade unions but today one such challenge is to provide migrant women their right to vote or enjoy their voting privileges. I believe it is our duty to find a comprehensive programme so that women migrant workers can exercise their voting rights.”

Watch Kumudini Samuels full speech

Links: Let’s ensure migrant workers voting rights! (IMD 2014)