Category Archives: MMN Activities
International Migrants Day (IMD) 2016 was celebrated at Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) in Yangon on 18 December. The Myanmar Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Labour Organizations (LOs) Network for Migrants organized the event with support from International Labour Organization-Yangon (ILO-Yangon) and UN ACT. The theme of this year’s event was: “Respect Migrants’ Power, Give Equality Now!”
The event attracted over 1,000 participants ranging from migrant returnees to individual workers, and members of labour unions and various community-based organizations. MMN member organization 88 Generation Peace and Open Society took part in the celebration. MMN managed a photo booth at the event and distributed publications to the public. There were around 300 people who came to the photo booth and around 600 people who visited the publication table.
Ms. Jackie Pollock from ILO-Yangon gave the opening speech, which introduced the event and listed reasons to celebrate. There were also speeches presented by Mr. Myo Min on behalf of the Myanmar CSOs and LOs Network, Anti-Human Trafficking Ambassador Ms. Khine Hnin Wai, and Mr. Aung Myo Min representing Equality Network Myanmar.
Mr. Aung Myo Min’s presentation urged the Myanmar Government to ratify the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and to recognize and value migrants’ contributions to society. During the event, attendees played games and quizzes, which tested their knowledge of IMD, labour migration, and migration issues.
International Migrants Day 2016 Statement
The Myanmar Civil Society Organizations and Labour Organizations Network for Migrants urges the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to:
- Promote better job opportunities, raise wages, and promote skills as a migrant-sending country;
- Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW 1990);
- Prioritize safe labour migration for migrant workers without any fees;
- Protect migrant workers from exploitation and trafficking, reduce inequality, and ensure migrant workers enjoy full labour rights, especially women migrants;
- Work together on social security and social protection with other government officials in ASEAN;
- Work with governments, employers, and organizations to promote migrant children’s access to fundamental rights, including citizenship rights;
- Establish effective laws and policies for labour migration and give proper penalties to the agencies and individuals who violate codes of conduct; and
- Establish effective laws to protect fishing boat workers and domestic workers.
Assessment Meeting for MMN’s Myanmar National Training on Responses to Labour Migration and Burma/Myanmar CSO Country Visits to Thailand and Cambodia
On 19 December 2016, MMN held an assessment meeting in Yangon, Myanmar. The objective of the meeting was to evaluate the MMN’s Myanmar National Training on Responses to Labour Migration, facilitated in early September in Yangon, and the Burma/Myanmar civil society organization (CSO) country visits to Thailand and Cambodia, carried out throughout November and December, as well as to discuss possible areas for future collaboration and joint advocacy.
Facilitated by representatives of EMPOWER Foundation – a Thailand-based MMN member organization – and the MMN Secretariat, the assessment involved the CSO representatives who participated in both the training and country visits.
Overall, the meeting participants stated that they were satisfied with each of the activities, in part, due to gaining a deeper understanding of migration-related issues. Participants exclaimed that the five-day national training increased their knowledge of labour migration purposes, channels, and policies in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. In addition, they felt that the country visits to Thailand and Cambodia furthered their understanding of the reality of migration as a result of discussions with migrant communities and CSOs engaging directly with migrant workers and their families. These interactions helped reveal major push factors of labour migration, such as economic hardship, and the challenges that accompany migration, including obtaining documentation and securing migrant children’s education. Participants expressed that they not only learned more about migration-related issues through these activities, but also about effective awareness raising and advocacy strategies from interacting with like-minded CSOs. Moreover, participants declared that the national training helped to improve their statement writing, campaign organizing, and panel discussion facilitation skills.
Suggestions that surfaced from the evaluation session included MMN facilitating future trainings on: advocacy, campaigning, networking, organizational management skills, research skills, and Mekong labour migration policies. Participants also discussed the possibility of collectively raising awareness on safe migration processes and working to provide a safe space and employment opportunities for migrant returnees. Facilitating pre-departure trainings in rural areas and industrial zones across Burma/Myanmar was also mentioned. The session concluded with participants expressing their desire to collaborate with MMN again in the future.
The Burma/Myanmar civil society organization (CSO) country visit to Cambodia took place from 13 to 17 December 2016 in the cities of Siem Reap ,Poi Pet and Battambang. The Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC) – one of MMN’s member organizations – hosted participants during the five-day visit.
The country visit participants included eight individuals representing seven CSOs based in different states and regions across Burma/Myanmar, including: 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, Foundation for Education and Development (FED), Joint Action Committee for Burma Affairs (JACBA), Northern Shan State Baptist Convention (NSSBC), WE Generation Network, Tavoyan Women’s Union (TWU), and Karen Baptist Convention (KBC).
The objective of the visit was for CSO representatives from Burma/Myanmar to gain a better understanding of labour migration processes from government representatives and CSOs working to support migrant rights in a country of origin. The visit provided participants with the opportunity to engage in informative discussions with Cambodian government officials, including representatives from the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Committee for Counter Trafficking and officials managing the Battambang Migrant Resource Center (MRC). Participants also interacting with like-minded CSOs, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations including: Civil Volunteer Group (GVC), Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Krousar Thmey (New Family), Cambodian Hope Organization (CHO), Damnok Toek (Drop of Water), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar CSO delegates learned about national policies regarding labour rights, migrant rights, and the regulation of recruitment agencies. Based on discussions, participants claimed that the Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s labour migration policies are more comprehensive than similar policies in Burma/Myanmar. After speaking with representatives from the Battambang MRC, they also believed that Cambodian policies regulating recruitment agencies better protect migrant workers than Myanmar policies.
The visit instilled in participants a better understanding of the significance of effective labour migration policies enacted in countries of origin. Some of the participating organizations expressed that they will use the information they gained from the Cambodia country visit to advocate for the Myanmar Government to change national migration and labour laws. It is hoped that such visits will allow partnerships between Burma/Myanmar and Cambodian CSOs to develop and strengthen to better advocate for the rights of migrants across the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Please find here for the full report: Country Visit Cambodia Report
From 23 to 26 November 2016, civil society organization (CSO) representatives from Burma/Myanmar participated in a country visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand, organized by the Mekong Migration Network (MMN). The visit followed MMN’s Myanmar National Training on Responses to Labour Migration, which was held in early September 2016.
Seven participants took part in the visit representing CSOs from across Burma/Myanmar, including: 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, Federation for Education and Development (FED), Sex Workers in Myanmar Network (SWIM), Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), Let’s Help Each Other (LHEO), Civil and Political Rights Campaign Group (CPRC), and Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP).
The objective of the Thailand Country Visit was for participants to gain a better understanding of cross-border labour migration processes and available supports to migrants in a destination country. During the visit, delegates had the opportunity of engaging in insightful discussions with organizations working to support the rights of migrants in Thailand – such as Workers Solidarity Association (WSA) – and with migrant communities themselves. MMN member organizations, namely MAP Foundation, Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), and EMPOWER Foundation, hosted the participants and shared their perspective on the situation of migrants living in Thailand, as well as their experience with and strategies for working on migrant labour issues as members of civil society.
The week’s activities equipped CSO representatives with knowledge on multimedia documentation, radio broadcasting, women’s empowerment, and migrant labour rights. It is hoped that participating and hosting organizations will explore ways to collaborate and engage in cross-border advocacy actions to support the rights of migrants from Burma/Myanmar in Thailand in the future.
Please find here for the full Report: Thailand Country Visit Report
On the occasion of International Migrants Day, more than 200 participants, including CSOs that promote migrants’ right, academics in Chiang Mai, and migrant workers representatives, gathered in the seminar held on 18th – 19th December 2016, at the UNISERVE, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Throughout the day on the 18th December, the participants, in majority migrant workers, discussed and shared their experiences. The morning session started with the opening speech by the organizing committee, followed by the presentation on “Visual Storytelling”, a collaborating project between MAP Foundation, Prachatham and Workers Solidarity Association (WSA).
Next, participants were divided into different groups to identify concerns and challenges they have been facing, as well as suggesting practical recommendations. There were 10 topics to be discussed including migrant workers documentations, migrant dependents such as children and elderly, migrant employment permit and Working of Alien Act, Non-Thai citizen status & card, Social Security Scheme, wages and labour protections, Occupational Safety and Health, MOU and recruitment agencies, access to justice, and trade union and collective bargaining. The outcomes from the group discussions were presented to lawyers, scholars and NGOs so that they could contribute giving comments, inputs and suggestions on how to consolidate the group suggestions into concrete recommendations.
On the 19th December 2016, the participants collectively finalized the statement to be presented to the Governor of Chiang Mai, followed by press release at the UNISERVE, Chiang Mai Thailand.
In the afternoon, the Northern Labour Network, comprised of 15 Civil Society Organizations that promote migrants’ rights, academics in Chiang Mai, and migrant workers representatives, gathered at the Chiang Mai City Hall to hand in the recommendations for International Migrants Day. About 150 people joined the parade and delivered the recommendations to the Vice-Governor of Chiang Mai. The recommendations were addressed both on the local and national level and included protecting migrant workers rights’ regardless of their documentation status, to resolve the regulations which limit the mobility of migrant workers and to allow migrant workers to work in any occupation according to their abilities. Some of the recommendations were also addressed to the Government of Myanmar, asking the Labour Attaché to become more involved in the monitoring of labour conditions and to treat migrant workers without discrimination of ethnicity or immigration status.
The statement of International Migrants Day 2016 is available in Thai and English.
ข้อเรียกร้องเนื่องในวันแรงงานข้ามชาติสากล [202 KB]
Recommendations for International Migrants Day 2016 [263 KB]
The IMD 2016 activity was covered by the following news: