Francis Solomantine

Migrant Rights Advocate for the Middle East Centre for Training and Development (MECTD)

Active in Country: Sri Lanka and Middle East

DTP Alumnus: DTP Migrant Workers Programs

Francis Solomantine (Francis) is a Migrant Rights advocate working for the Middle East Centre for Training and Development (MECTD), a training institution based in Dubai. At MECTD he is also a member of the training team in conducting education awareness for workers in Dubai on the UAE’s culture and living condition, labour law and occupational safety and health.

Prior to joining MECTD in May 2016, Francis worked as a Program Officer at Solidarity Centre in Sri Lanka where his area of work focused around creating awareness amongst workers about their rights, and capacity building of trade unions in Sri Lanka. He continues to create awareness and share information on the situation of workers with various stakeholders including migrant workers, activists, advocates, policy makers and UN members through the use of technology and social media. With his effort, a cyberspace has been established for unions and migrant workers in a unique website called WEDABIMA, meaning work-floor in English, which posts information for migrant workers and unions in the Sinhala and Tamil languages. He also states that information is being distributed through Facebook and other social mediums, and is amazed by the response to the website and the Facebook pages. Francis further states that he is ‘able to reach people beyond Sri Lanka as well as people in the African continent and even Australia so people are regularly visiting our site, sharing comments and even posting their issues so the website on migration portal is invaluable because the information is applicable for migrant workers and skilled workers as they can all just share information.’

Reflecting on the Sri Lankan experience, Francis states that even before the Migrant Workers’ Convention came into existence, Sri Lanka had already developed local laws relating to the treatment of migrant workers since 1985. However, Francis asserts that even though this meant that Sri Lanka has more advanced system and structures in place to protect migrant workers, this is not always as helpful for migrant workers in countries of destination. Francis believes that workers should be monitored from both ends [countries of origin and countries of destination], however, even that might not solve the problem as lack of education and awareness would still be an issue.

Francis states that there is still more work that needs to be done in order to conquer issues that relate to migrant workers. He believes while Sri Lanka has ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, there are still various issues such as the voting rights of migrant workers that Sri Lanka needs to prioritize.


For more details regarding the Wedabima websites and Facebook pages, please check out:

www.wedabima.lk (for Sinhala readers)

www.velaiththalm.lk (for Tamil readers)

 

Facebook pages: wedabima / wedabima migrants / velaiththalam 

 

Profile written - Unknown