Created: Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Social Inclusion of Migrants: Access to Education and Health Services
The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, chaired the seminar (22nd August 2012) on “Social Inclusion of Migrants: Access to Education and Health Services.” Organized by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), panel members consisted of UN agency representatives and experts including, Ms Yvonne Lodico, Head of UNITAR Office in New York; Ms. Maria Pia Belloni Mignatti, Representative to the UN for the World Organization for Early Childhood Education; Ms. Ann Pawliczko, Senior Technical Advisor to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA); Mr. Jacob Kumaresan, Executive Director of the World Health Organisation in New York (WHO); Ms Brenda Haiplik, Senior Education Advisor-Emergencies for UNICEF in New York; Ms. Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Ms. Amy Muedin, Programme Specialist for the Office of the Permanent Observer for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM); and Mr. Rhon Reynolds, Representative of the African Black Diaspora Global Network (ABDGN).
The panelists explored several approaches to strengthen the social integration policies for migrants, specifically youth, the elderly, disabled persons, IDPs, refugees, asylum seekers, indigenous peoples and persons with HIV infections. The emphasis was on equal access to health and education services while bridging the gap between cultural and linguistic boundaries.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona reiterated Sri Lanka’s comprehensive national institutional mechanisms which offered strong support for basic migrant rights. As a country that was a source of migrants as well as a recipient. He also reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s contribution to international efforts, as a member of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers, in ensuring that the rights of migrants are protected. He also emphasised the Government’s successful educational and health services in the country’s its post-conflict resettlement and reintegration programme.