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20 Jan 2022

Dehin Wasantha, WSWS

GCC: WSWS inquest reveals precarious conditions of Sri Lankan migrant workers exacerbated with the onset of COVID-19

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Construction at Duqm, Oman

"Sri Lankan migrant workers support Global Inquest into COVID-19 Pandemic", 14 Jan 2022

The Global Workers Inquest initiated by the World Socialist Web Site...will investigate and document the disastrous response of governments, corporations and the media to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

...interviews with Sri Lankan migrant workers employed in the Middle East...explain some of the enormous difficulties they faced due to the criminal response of the ruling elite to the pandemic in both the Middle East and Sri Lanka.

“...Workers’ wages, since the country reopened following a brief pandemic lockdown in 2020, are only 50,000–80,000 rupees ($US246 - $US394) per month, including overtime payments, but the amount of work has trebled since before the pandemic."

...if anyone is infected with COVID, the company owners regard it as the worker’s own mistake. Three months ago, when an Indian assistant production manager was infected, administration confined him to a separate room but did nothing to look after his health and fitness.

Sachini worked as a housemaid in Kuwait but was forced to return to Sri Lanka before completing her contract because she was unable to bear ongoing physical harassment by her employer... [The Kuwait police] sent her to a detention camp in Talha.

The detainees...were treated inhumanely in these camps, held for months in crowded and unventilated rooms...

“The [detention] camps lack food, water and medicines and several people, including a woman from Sri Lanka, died because they were unable to bear the difficulties...