Statement by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Colombo Process


Statement by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, M.P. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, at the Inauguration of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Colombo Process: 25th August 2016, Colombo-Sri Lanka


Madam Chairperson, Hon. Thalatha Atukorala, Minister of Foreign Employment,
Director-General of IOM, His Excellency Ambassador William Lacy Swing,
Hon. visiting Ministers, who are attending the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Colombo Process,
Excellencies, distinguished delegates and friends,

I am pleased to join you this morning at the inauguration of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Colombo Process (CP). This forum, since its inception in 2003 in Colombo, has been promoting the rights and welfare of Asian contractual labour migrants. The Colombo Process remains a useful and voluntary forum for its 11 Member States[1] to collectively respond to the challenges that our migrant workers face. The notable progress that has been achieved over the past 13 years within this Regional Consultative Process demonstrates our solidarity and collective endeavours.

While warmly welcoming Director General of the International Organization for Migration, Ambassador William Swing to Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to congratulate the IOM for its 65 years of committed service for the welfare and safety of migrants. We note with admiration IOM’s recent admittance to the UN system as a related organization. It is indeed appropriate to applaud the role of IOM in facilitating migration, in particular for its assistance to the Colombo Process Member countries.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

The present global trends and the complexities in migration are such that no single country could find solutions to those challenges. Nor would there be one-size fits all responses. International migration is a contemporary reality in an interconnected world, for which the best management solutions are required. We should make migration a considered choice for the potential migrants and their families.

With the increasing number of human movements worldwide, we note that migration has become a key focus, including within the United Nations. With the upcoming High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on ‘Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants’ next month in New York, there will be further engagement by Member States to develop a process to introduce a ‘Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration’ by year 2018. Sri Lanka fully supports these multilateral efforts to reach productive conclusions within the relevant international legal frameworks.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

I commend your collective efforts in the Colombo Process, in particular for putting into action the five thematic areas during Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship. This action oriented road map addresses issues related to ‘recognition of skills of the migrant workers’, as well as to introduce ‘ethics, norms and standards into the recruitment industry’, which yet again is a key player in the contractual labour migration process. Also, Colombo Process has made efforts to ‘develop cheaper, safer and faster modes of remittance transfers’. I hope these efforts will facilitate us in realizing the UN SDG target of less than 3% remittances cost for migrant workers. Further, how we ‘orient and train our migrant workers prior to their departures’ remains a key priority with a view to avoid desperation or distress at work. The forum’s agenda on ‘conducting research and sharing information on labour markets’ seems promising. I encourage you to continue closer engagements in these priority areas.

Read more: