Category Archives: MMN Activities

Concerns as agencies take over training

Employment agencies could be facing a conflict of interest in taking over the training of Myanmar citizens preparing to work overseas, a migrant workers’ advocate has warned.

Reiko Harima, managing director of the Asian Migrant Centre, said the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agency Federation (MOEAF) increased their members’ profits by sending more workers overseas, and so was “unlikely” to provide information that might deter them from going.

Pre-departure training, which is conducted in Yankin township, Yangon, is meant to inform migrants of the labour laws and cultural norms of the countries they are being sent to. Previously run by the Ministry of Labour, the MOEAF began conducting the courses on August 31.

“Employment agencies are unlikely to provide information that might put migrants off going overseas,” such as details of low pay and long hours, Ms Harima said.

She said the decision to allow employment agencies to regulate much of the migration process in Indonesia and Cambodia, which send thousands of workers abroad each year, had negatively affected prospective workers.

“These include recruitment when not enough jobs are actually secured by agencies, resulting in a long waiting period for workers” and insufficient information about workers’ rights, she said.

“Employment agencies might decide to not recruit migrants who are confident about demanding their rights,” she said.

MOEAF vice chair U Soe Myint Aung said controlling training would lead to better supervision of migrants. He also said that because the agency negotiates labour agreements with its foreign counterparts it was best suited to train the migrants.

But Ms Harima said protecting the migrants was a job for governments. “It’s rather unrealistic to expect agencies to play a front-line role in protecting domestic workers’ rights. It is the responsibility of governments to protect their citizens and workers, and it should be the government’s responsibility to strictly monitor the operation of recruitment agencies.”

By: Bill O’Toole, Myanmar Times

Regional Exchange Program on Migration Issues, 5 – 7 August 2014, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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The Mekong Migration Network (MMN) hosted and organized a Regional Exchange Program on Migration Issues in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from August 5th-7th, 2014.  The exchange program was funded by the international non-profit organization Diakonia to educate its partner organizations in the Mekong region about migration issues and enable them to network with other organizations focusing on those issues.  At the exchange MMN and its member organizations presented on the history of recent migration in Thailand, principles and international frameworks to promote the rights of migrants, the work the network collectively carries out, and the work its individual member organizations carry out in order to empower migrant communities and advocate for policy reform to achieve fair treatment and labor conditions for migrants.  As Diakonia’s partner organizations specialize in issues as diverse as women’s rights, community development, human trafficking, poverty alleviation, and safe migration, the exchange program was designed to facilitate mutual learning among MMN members and Diakonia’s partners. The program included  discussions about the intersection of the issues of migration with those of labor rights, women’s rights, and development.

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Visiting partner organizations

Visiting partner organizations

To deepen understanding about working and living conditions of migrants, participants visited two separate migrant worker communities, one employed in agriculture and the other in construction.  Participants also visited the MAP Foundation, EMPOWER and MMN and learnt issues and strategies from the respective organizations.  The exchange culminated in a final day of networking as the different organizations identified  what issues they could collaborate with others on to address the needs of migrants.

Mapping project locations throughout the region

Mapping project locations throughout the region

 

Speed dating interviews to brainstorm on organizational partnership potential

Speed dating interviews to brainstorm on organizational partnership potential

The following civil society organizations participated in the exchange program and are partner organizations of the Diakonia Foundation.

  • Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT)
  • Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
  • Karen Baptist Convention (KBC)
  • Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC)
  • New Life Center Foundation
  • Northern Shan State Baptist Convention
  • Shan State Lisu Christian Association of Myanmar

The following organizations are members of the Mekong Migration Network and also participated in the exchange program.

  • 88 Generation Peace and Open Society
  • Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  • Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC)
  • Foundation for Education and Development (FED)
  • EMPOWER
  • Labour Rights Defenders and Promoters (LRDP)
  • Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW)
  • MAP Foundation
  • Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)

The Exchange Program concluded with a range of recommendations for MMN and Diakonia regarding further action, which included organizing similar Exchange Programs in other Mekong countries on a regular basis.

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Proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Workshop (22 March 2014)

MMN is pleased to announce that the proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Workshop, which was held during the ASEAN People’s Forum in Myanmar, is now available in soft copies.

PDF version of the proceedings is available at:

http://www.mekongmigration.org/MMN%20Bottom%20of%20ASEAN%20workshop%202014%20-%20Proceedings.pdf

Proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Project Consultation Meeting (19 March 2014)

MMN is pleased to announce that the proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Project Consultation Meeting, which was organised by MMN on 19 March 2014 at MiCasa Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, is now available in soft copies.

PDF version of the report is available at:

http://www.mekongmigration.org/MMN%20Bottom%20of%20ASEAN%20project%20consultation%202014%20-%20Proceedings.pdf

Migrants after the Military Coup – Summary of information concerning raids, deportation and returns of migrants currently happening in Thailand is available

Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian migrants in Thailand returned to Cambodia in June due to fears of a military crackdown on migrant workers after the Thai military took control of the country in a coup on 22 May.

There have been no similar reports of Burmese migrants returning to Burma, however, the military has also been raiding Burmese neighbourhoods across the country, with media reports of at least 1,000 arrests. There is little indication that the military is taking significant measures to stop the flow of migrant workers out of Thailand.

MMN has prepared a chronology of events and news reports on the raids, deportation and returns of migrants in Thailand since the military coup, available at on the Arrest, Detention and Deportation website at http://mekongmigration.org/add/?page_id=55 

MMN will continue to update this chronology as the situation progresses.

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