New Bill Against Discrimination

New Bill Against Discrimination

Sri Lanka’s labor minister, Manusha Nanayakkara, has announced a groundbreaking initiative to ensure equal opportunities for all in the job market, with a particular focus on protecting the transgender community from discrimination.

The upcoming Employment Bill, expected to be finalized in February, will incorporate a dedicated chapter upholding inclusivity and non-discrimination in the workplace. This commitment aligns with Sri Lanka’s efforts to comply with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards C190 and C180, promoting equal opportunities and fostering a safe working environment for all.

“We will end discrimination by saying ‘kisima bedayakin thorawa’ (there will be no discrimination) in the new employment bill,” declared Nanayakkara, acknowledging the pervasive challenges faced by the transgender community in securing employment. His previous engagement with community members last September demonstrates a dedication to understanding their concerns and addressing them directly.

The bill promises to be a comprehensive overhaul of Sri Lanka’s labor laws, bringing them into the 21st century. Notably, it aims to eliminate outdated and discriminatory practices like the Employment of Women, Young People and Children Act, which currently restricts women from working certain hours.

This positive development coincides with progress towards broader LGBTQ rights in Sri Lanka. MP Premnath Dolawatte’s private member bill seeks to repeal discriminatory sections of the Penal Code, further paving the way for greater acceptance and inclusivity

Sri Lanka’s commitment to equal employment opportunities for all, particularly its marginalized communities, marks a significant step towards a more just and equitable society. The upcoming Employment Bill, with its focus on non-discrimination and inclusivity, has the potential to be a transformative force in the country’s labor landscape, ensuring that everyone has the chance to thrive and contribute their skills to the nation’s prosperity.

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