Press release

National Mediation Day

On the 25th of July, the International Labour Organization together with the Mediation Boards Commission, Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms in partnership with The Asia Foundation celebrated National Mediation Day.

Press release | Colombo, Sri Lanka | 26 July 2019
The 2019 National Mediation Day celebration aimed to create awareness on community mediation and special mediation boards for land disputes and the proposed special mediation boards for migrant workers and their families. The events appreciated the success of the Mediation Programme and to recognised the voluntary mediators as well as Mediator Training Officers who have contributed to it since its inception.

Between 2013-2015, the International Labour Organization worked closely with The Asia Foundation to create the space and commitment for the establishment of Special Mediation Boards to address disputes faced by migrant workers and their families. Mediation is seen as exceptionally successful in Sri Lanka due to the extraordinary level of government commitment, the knowledge and capacity of mediator training officers, the personal commitment of people who serve voluntarily as mediators, and the comprehensive management, training and evaluation process by the Mediation Boards Commission that ensures proper management of the process.

The need for the Special Mediation Board for Migrant Workers was revealed from research done in the field of foreign employment and migrant workers; with findings emphasising the dangers and gaps in the process of regular and irregular migration and the frequency of negative encounters at the pre-departure stage, in-service stage and during the return and reintegration stage.

While complaints of issues faced in Sri Lanka have been handled by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment and the Ministry of Foreign Employment primarily through its representatives at Divisional level, the need for a new and alternative dispute resolution mechanism to receive and resolve migrant grievances, especially those faced by workers in Sri Lanka during the pre-departure and return and reintegration stages, and by families of migrant workers, was raised.

Supported by the commitment in the National Labour Migration Policy with the support of the Swiss Development Corporation, and of the Ministry of Justice, the Mediation Boards Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Employment, the Special Mediation Boards for Migrant Workers in Sri Lanka will pilot its services in the Kurunegala District soon.

For more information please contact: Mr. Asitha Seneviratne, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives: , Tel: + 94112592525