Category Archives: MMN Activities
The Mekong Migration Network (MMN) is currently holding a five-day training course, “ASEAN Advocacy Training,” from June 4 to 8 in Bangkok. A total of 17 trainees from Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam have participated in the training. Four trainers and six keynote speakers have engaged with the trainees.
The training course seeks to enable trainees to better understand how to advocate to ASEAN and to stimulate action within MMN. The program is designed to be practical in nature, as it focuses on building the trainees’ advocacy and analysis skills. It also informs trainees with critical information about ASEAN and how ASEAN can be utilized for advocating for migrants’ rights.
The majority of the trainees work with NGOs advocating for migrant rights in their respective countries, and are expected to remain engaged in MMN ASEAN advocacy activities following the training.
The main trainers are Jackie Pollock from ILO (Yangon), Debbie Stothard from the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), Pranom Somwong, Brahm Press from the MAP Foundation, and Reiko Harima, the Regional Coordinator of MMN. All of the trainers are highly experienced in advocacy and knowledgeable on issues related to migration in ASEAN.
While the trainers engage with the training in a highly interactive way and encourage the trainees to think more boldly and critically, the external resource persons equip them with crucial information and insightful perspectives on the broader picture of labor migration in relation to ASEAN. The speakers are renowned activists, journalists, scholars, and leaders of NGO and international organizations. The external resource persons include: Yuyun Wahyuningrum (Team Leader of Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument Human Rights Facility), Sukanya Thongthumrong (National Project Officer for the Migration Programme, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific), Sinapan Samydorai (Convenor-Consultant of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers), Dr. Rosalia Sciortino Sumaryono (Associate Professor at Mahidol University), Premrudee Daoroung (environment activists and co-chair of the Steering Committee for ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum 2014), and Achara Ashayagachat (journalist of the Bangkok Post).
On 1 May 2016, the Northern Labour Network, which is comprised of 15 organizations, including MMN, organized the International Workers’ Day (May Day) event at Banpak Tassanajorn, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over 200 workers and members of the Northern Labour Network participated.
At the opening, Mr. Brahm Press, Director of MAP Foundation, gave a speech and explained that the main objective of holding the International Workers’ Day is to call for all workers to unite, collectively demand their rights, and exchange the dilemmas and challenges that they have faced.
Another speaker followed by explaining that May Day was started more than 100 year ago when workers in the United States (U.S.) staged a protest calling for their rights. In those days, workers there had to work for long hours and they frequently had their rights violated. The first protest in the U.S. was cracked down and labour strikes consequently spread all over the world. The main demand by the workers was the eight-hour workday. They would then be able to secure eight hours for rest and leisure and another eight hours for learning.
Speeches were followed by performance by worker, showing the difficulties they face at work. After that, participants were divided into groups including construction workers group, domestic workers group, sex workers group, agriculture workers group and industrial workers group for group discussion. During the discussion, participants and group leaders talked about what kind of rights violation workers have experienced and what are the demands that workers wish to make. Group leaders also explained to the worker representatives about the rights they are entitled to.
In the afternoon, each group presented the outcome of discussion. The synthesis of the recommendations coming from this session is found in the statement below.
Finally, the event ended with a plenary session emphasizing the importance of workers’ knowledge about their rights, and reaffirming the importance of workers’ unity. Only then will collective voices have the strength to make employers listen to their voices.
Following the May Day celebration a day earlier, on 2 May 2016, hundreds of migrant workers and members of the Northern Labour Network gathered at Tassanajorn, Chiang Mai. They finalised the statement that included their demands and submitted it to Chiang Mai Vice Governor after reading it out in front of all those gathered there. After that, migrant workers performed their experience as a show. The event completed, following the workers’ march to Chiang Mai City Hall.
|Demands for International Workers’ Day (May Day), 1 May 2016
Every year May 1st is celebrated as International Workers’ Day or “May Day” – the day when workers around the world join the struggle for recognition that all occupations are equally important. It is the day workers call to have their human rights respected and their contribution to the economy acknowledged.
Using this opportunity, the Northern Labour Network, which is comprised of 15 organizations, academics from Chiang Mai and workers representatives, organized a workshop in order to identify problems and obstacles workers are still facing. One problem identified is the difficulties faced in expanding and strengthening workers unions, which leads to a lack of participation and poor representation of workers in tripartite committees. Most migrant workers do not receive the legally established labour standards such as the minimum wage, proper work hours, paid days off, holidays and working overtime. They experience health problems related to occupational safety and health, yet still do not receive instructions or training on how to properly use hazardous chemicals, dangerous equipment or first aid in their own language. Migrants lack access to Social Security benefits as employers fail to enroll their employees. Those who are enrolled still have problems receiving all the benefits they are entitled to, such as child allowance and old-age benefits, due to a lack of implementing guidelines and complicated documentation requirements. Migrants are also facing increasing restrictions which limit their freedom of mobility and make them more vulnerable to exploitation.
From the meeting where over 200 workers and members of the Northern Labour Network came together to identify the problems they face and develop recommendations, we present the following set of demands to the Governor’s Office of Chiang Mai and the Thai Royal Government including the Ministry of Interior:
To the Governor of Chiang Mai
1. We request the governor of Chiang Mai to establish a Permanent Committee on Workers Issues which is comprised of relevant government agencies, members of the Northern Labour Network,
academics, legal specialists on labour issues, and labour unions, in order to resolve problems related to occupational safety and health, and to ensure all workers access their full labour rights.
Demands to the Royal Thai Government
1. Establish a Committee to oversee and monitor recruitment agencies for migrant workers in order to resolve the problem of agencies placing migrants in jobs different from that which was identified in the work agreement.
2. Have the agencies responsible for the migrant registration process and issuing of work permits reduce the number of steps, reduce excessive paperwork, and make the cost affordable to migrants.
3. Have the Royal Thai Government ratify ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 189 on the Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize, on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, and Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
4. Have the Royal Thai Government increase the minimum wage to 421 Baht and enforce its use nationwide.
5. Have the Royal Thai Government recognize “Sex Work as Work,” including entitlement to protections under all the labour laws.
6. Amend the Working of Alien Act B.E. 2551 to allow migrants to work in all occupations according to their abilities without restriction, and extend the working age to 60 years of age.
7. Amend the Ministerial Order which excludes certain occupations from enrolling under Social Security, and allow every worker to be able to enroll and access the benefits of Social Security and Workers Compensation Fund equally without discrimination, and allow individuals to choose the type of pension payment without restriction on the age of claimant.
Recommendation to the Ministry of Interior
1. Have the Ministry of Interior lift the regulations on migrant workers’ ability to travel freely in the country and back home.
For you to consider and implement immediately,
The Northern Labour Network
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
Shan Youth Power
Migrant Worker federation (MWF)
Workers Solidarity Association (WSA)
Workers’ Rights Promotion Association
Federation of Garment Factory and Textile Workers Union
Federation of Jewelry and Accessories Workers Union
Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN)
Home-Based Workers Group
Gab Fai Community Theatre
Mekong Migration Network (MMN)
Northern Network of Informal Workers (HomeNet Thailand)
The statement of International Workers’ Day (May Day) 2016 in Thai language is available here: ข้อเรียกร้องเนื่องในวันกรรมกรสากล 1 พ.ค. 2016 – ฉบับยื่นต่อจังหวัด
See the following link for related news of International Workers’ Day Event in Chiang Mai on DVB Burmese/Myanmar news:
Workers from Chiang Mai called for their daily minimum wage to be raised to above 400 Thai Baht
The Mekong Migration Network is looking for a RESEARCH OFFICER to join our team. Please see the job announcement below.
Deadline for application: 10 April 2016
Reports to: MMN Regional Coordinator
Job location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Salary and Benefits: Local NGO rate subject to qualifications and experience.
Start Date: 1 June 2016
Contract Duration: One year contract (subject to three month probation at the beginning of contract); renewable up to 2 years and 7 months (until December 2018) depending on work performance.
Overview of the Mekong Migration Network
MMN is a sub-regional network of civil society organizations and research institutes working on migration issues in Mekong countries. MMN’s joint areas of work include advocacy, information monitoring, research, capacity building and networking. Please see www.mekongmigration.org for more information about MMN.
Roles and responsibilities:
MMN in collaboration with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) is carrying out a research and advocacy project focusing on the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Thailand, Cambodia and Burma/Myanmar and their impact on migrant women. The project period is from 2016 to 2018. The primary roles of the Research Officer will be to coordinate the implementation of the project and help ensure the high quality of research, particularly that of field research. Her/his specific roles and responsibilities will consist of the following.
- Field Research Coordination
*Develop concrete field research plans and questionnaires for interviews, following discussion during the research consultation meetings.
*Provide orientation (or training if necessary) to research partners to ensure the field research is done in accordance with the plan and of high quality.
*Actively follow up with research partners and give advice as necessary.
*Ensure that field research is done following the pre-approved budget.
- Management of data gathered through the field research
*Thoroughly review the interview results submitted by the field research partners and clarify when there is inconsistency in date.
*Encode the quantitative data from the field study to SPSS (or an equivalent program)
*Organise the qualitative findings.
*Prepare the summary of the findings and present them to the project partners for further analysis.
- Information monitoring and desk research
*Consistently monitor the policy development and other related news concerning SEZs and related issues (e.g. supply chains, regional economic development policies, investment trends etc), and carry out a thorough desk research to ensure that MMN has most updated information concerning SEZs, and that our research plan is an informed one.
- Preparation of the newsletters/reports
*Regularly prepare highlights of the project including interim findings, related events MMN organises, and/or news concerning SEZs that we would like to draw public’s attention.
*Publish them in forms of newsletters or other formats.
*Circulate the above mentioned news/reports broadly using the MMN webpage, list serves, and social media.
- MMN Webpage
*Develop a section on the MMN webpage specially dedicated to our project on SEZs (Technical assistance will be provided to create the section but the Research Officer will be in charge of developing content).
*Regularly update the site and circulate the news.
*Work as a team to develop advocacy calls concerning SEZ and migration, identify strategic advocacy targets and means, and actively promote/pursue the recommendations.
- Project reports
*Draft project reports to be submitted to the Regional Coordinator.
8. Other tasks
*Carry out other tasks as assigned by the Regional Coordinator.
S/he will work as a part of the small multi-cultural team and report directly to the Regional Coordinator. As a sub-regional network, the job involves frequent travel.
Qualifications and Experience
*Proven research skills (qualitative and quantitative)
*Relevant degree or equivalent experience
*Strong written skills in English
*Good report writing skills
*Strong commitment to and understanding of migration and labour issues in Mekong countries
*Experience working on issues relating to labour, human rights, migration, gender or development
*Ability to work independently and as part of a small team
*Ability to work effectively under pressure and meet deadlines
*Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
*Excellent attention to detail
*Proven computer literacy (Microsoft Word, Excel & PowerPoint)
*Data management skill (using SPSS or an equivalent software)
*Commitment to MMN’s approach and values
*Ability to travel
*Some experience on website and/or social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.)
*Experience of national and regional advocacy
*Knowledge of either Thai, Burmese or Khmer will be an advantage.
For those interested, please email your CV and a cover letter along with a list of two referees’ contact details and a writing sample in English for the attention of MMN Regional Coordinator, Ms. Reiko Harima at firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 April 2016. We will not be able to notify all applicants unless they are chosen for an interview. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.
MMN Consultation Meeting with CSOs on the Roles of Countries of Origin, 21 January 2016, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
On 21 January 2016 at the Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) in collaboration with the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC) organized a CSO consultation meeting as part of MMN’s current project on the roles of countries of origin in protecting migrant workers.
MMN is conducting research into best practices of origin countries and has looked specifically at lessons learnt from the experience of the Philippines and Indonesia in sending migrant workers to Hong Kong. MMN is also in the process of carrying out consultation meetings with migrant workers and returned migrants in Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma.
The meeting was attended by 25 representatives of CSOs working on labour migration and trafficking issues in Cambodia, with the purpose of sharing updates on current policy, sharing the results of MMN’s research thus far, and formulating recommendations to the Cambodian government.
Ms. Omsin Boonlert, MMN Advocacy and Research Officer, presented the results of the desk research on Cambodian labour migration policies. Mr. Sopheap Suong, Regional Manager of CWCC, presented the results of the consultation meeting held with Cambodian migrant returnees in Poipet on 12 November 2015.
Ms. Gabrielle Curtis, MMN Research Consultant, presented some highlights of key informant interviews that MMN had conducted in the previous days with representatives of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, the International Organisation for Migration, the International Labour Organisation, and the Ministry of Labour.
Collectively, attendees discussed the issues and formulated the following recommendations to the Cambodian government:
- Strengthen implementation of sub-decree 190 and prakas and make it effective.
- Allocate national budget for migrant worker issues especially for training at sub-national levels – the provincial, district, and community level. It is very important that if a migrant worker comes to local authority, they must know how to help.
- Implement a strict monitoring mechanism for recruitment agencies and follow up.
- Monitor and punish recruitment agencies who provide sub-licenses.
- Utilise diverse means to disseminate information, such as TV, radio, public forums, schools, and posters.
- Standard contract should be implemented in Khmer as well as English, and someone must explain the terms to workers clearly, especially where they are illiterate
- Take responsibility for migrants who return with health problems, both through proper referral and coverage of costs
- Provide transportation for returnees to their homes, and conduct follow-up visits through the Ministry of Labour or Ministry of Social Affairs
- Provide particular support to migrants who return with drug addiction problems
- Explore means for migrant workers to have skills certifications or acknowledgement of work from the destination country, in order to assist them find jobs on return
The research paper will be released later this year, along with recommendations to the Burmese and Cambodian governments. In addition, MMN will hold a regional policy dialogue on the issues.
MMN is inviting applications to our ASEAN Advocacy Training, to be held from 4-8 June 2016, in
There are 20 places available for the training, which is open to organisations from the Mekong
countries which are members of the ASEAN, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and
Vietnam. There is no limit on the number of applications per organisation or country. The ASEAN
Training will be a 5 day training (excluding arrival and departure dates) and will include one day of
The objective of the training is to enable trainees to better understand how to advocate to ASEAN
and to stimulate action within MMN. Training will be practical in nature and focus on developing
advocacy and analysis skills, as well as learning practical information about how ASEAN can be
utilized for advocating for migrants’ rights. As such, the trainees will be expected to remain engaged
in MMN ASEAN advocacy activities for at least 6 months following the training. As the training is
also a pilot programme, trainees will be expected to provide detailed feedback.
Criteria for applications:
Previous advocacy experience;
A leadership role within their organization, for example, able to speak on behalf of the
organization, able to commit to advocacy action on behalf of the organization;
Capacity to communicate and read in English;
Commitment to actively participate in the training and follow up activities with MMN (at
least 6 months);
Passion, enthusiasm and commitment to ASEAN advocacy in a long term;
Endorsement by their organization; and
Ability to travel to other ASEAN countries.
Please note that while application is open to non MMN member organisations, MMN member
organisations will get a priority in consideration, in order to maximize the chance of continued
Endorsing organisations must commit:
To provide support for the participating staff (e.g. time, equipment, information etc)
Key dates to note:
Deadline for application : 27 March 2016, as we have received several requests to extend the deadline for application for the ASEAN advocacy training, to be held in Bangkok on 4-8 June 2016, the deadline is now extended to 12 April 2016. We hope this gives enough time to prepare for those who are interested in participating.
Successful applicants will be notified by: 15 April 2016
MMN will cover the travelling cost to/from your home country to Bangkok and local cost
MMN will apply for a travel insurance including medical/accident coverage for the duration
To apply, please fill the attached application form and the Memorandum of Agreement and send
them to email@example.com by 27 March 2016 (by 12 April 2016 as the deadline is now extended). Please make sure the Memorandum
of Agreement is duly signed by the applicant and the head of the endorsing organization.
PDF file with related links are available here: Concept note and criteria-final