Category Archives: Organized by MMN

MMN Convenes Multi-stakeholder workshop on Migrants in Agriculture

On 19 December 2019, Mekong Migration Network (MMN),  a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) advocating for migrants’ rights in the Mekong region, held a multi-stakeholder workshop on Migrant Agricultural Workers in Thailand at the IBIS Riverside hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Over 40 participants, including migrant workers representatives, Thai government officials from the Ministry of Labour, Cambodian government officials, CSOs from Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, the International Labour Organization (U.N.), and experts attended the Workshop to hear findings from MMN’s upcoming publication on migrant agricultural workers in Thailand and discuss how stakeholders can work towards improving protection mechanisms afforded this group of workers. 

Between 2016 and 2019, MMN conducted collaborative research focusing on the agricultural industry because of the unique issues migrants face working in geographically isolated farms/plantations and the historical exclusion of agricultural workers from Thai labour laws. Based on empirical research conducted on cassava, corn, rubber and palm oil plantations in different parts of Thailand, the resulting study provides a textured account of migrants’ working experiences and proposes recommendations to safeguard migrants’ rights and expand services provided to them.

The three panels of the workshop focused on three key issues related to agricultural migrant workers: labour protection, access to social services and social protection, and occupational health and safety. At each panel, migrant representatives and CSOs shared common issues and violations at the workplace, as well as challenges workers face in accessing their entitlements and the justice mechanism. Officials from the Thai government also discussed the government’s latest initiatives to enhance existing protection mechanisms, including plans to expand the role of labour inspectors, ensure that all migrant workers are able to participate in Thailand’s Social Security System and Workmen’s Compensation Fund, conduct training on occupational health and safety, and work with neighbouring countries of origin, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar, on issues related to migration statuses of agricultural workers.

MMN thanks all participants for contributing to an engaging discussion. On 30 January 2020 at 11 AM, MMN will launch the report Migrant Agricultural Workers in Thailand at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand. We hope to use the platform to further the dialogue on agricultural migrant workers in Thailand, whose contributions have for long been largely unnoticed and whose voices have gone mostly unheard.

 

For quotes of the event, please click here.

 

Participants of the workshop.

Participants of the workshop.

A migrant representative shares her experiences working on a palm oil plantation.

A migrant representative shares his experience working on corn, pineapple and sugar cane plantations.

A Thai government official shares plans to ensure all migrant workers participate in the Thai Social Security System and Workmen’s Compensation Fund.

 

 

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: Information, Documentation, and Advocacy Officer

The Mekong Migration Network (MMN) in coordination with the Foundation for Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood (MMN Foundation) is looking for a full-time Information, Documentation and Advocacy (IDA) Officer. The successful applicant will be based at the MMN Secretariat office in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The position requires the successful applicant to frequently travel within Thailand as well as within the Mekong region. There is no special support (i.e. support for relocation costs, etc.) for people applying for this position from overseas or other provinces. This initial contract is for one year which may be renewable depending on job performance and funding availability.

Deadline for application: 5 January 2020

Reports to: MMN Regional Coordinator
Job location:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Salary and Benefits: 
Local NGO rate subject to qualifications and experience.
Start Date: 
10 February 2020 (or earlier)
Contract Duration:
 One year contract (subject to 119 days probation at the beginning of contract); renewable 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:

General
To work as part of the MMN Secretariat team to help strengthen the MMN as a sub-regional network promoting the rights of migrant workers in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)

Specific

1. Information Monitoring and Dissemination

*Regularly collate and circulate information regarding migration in the Mekong.

*Promptly alert MMN members and the Secretariat when there are urgent issues to which MMN should respond.

2. Research and Advocacy

*Work as a member of the MMN Secretariat team in carrying out advocacy work. This may include, but not limited to, carrying out background research, assisting in drafting statements and other relevant documents, editing and laying them out, circulating and promoting the final documents effectively.

*Carry out research and advocacy work on the projects assigned by the Regional Coordinator.

3. Documentation

*Document discussion during MMN meetings.

*Write concise reports of activities which MMN organises or participate in for the purpose of publishing them through the MMN webpage or the annual report.

*Coordinate production of MMN annual reports.

*Assist the Regional Coordinator in preparing reports of activities for donors.

*Organise MMN photos and other visual materials so that they can be promptly used for the purpose of reporting, publishing, advocacy etc.

4. MMN Webpage and Social Media

*Develop and update the MMN webpage in coordination with other Secretariat staff members.

*Update social media to promote MMN work and advocacy points.

4. Other tasks

*Assist preparation and implementation of meetings and other activities.

*Other tasks as assigned by the Regional Coordinator.

Qualifications and Experience

Essential

*Relevant degree or equivalent experience in a relevant field, such as development studies, migration studies, gender studies, international relations or law;

*Fluency and strong writing skills in English

*Excellent note taking skills

*Strong public speaking skills

*Strong commitment to and understanding of migration issues in Mekong countries

*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)

*Commitment to MMN’s approach and values

*Ability to manage the Webpage design

*Ability to travel

Desirable

*Fluency and strong writing skills in one of the Mekong national languages

*Good understanding on country and sub-regional political, economic and social context in Mekong

*Experience of national and regional advocacy

*Experience working with social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) for advocacy

*Skills to design poster, videos or other forms of visuals

*Skills to layout reports

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

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 application@mekongmigration.org by 5 January 2020.  Please write “Application for Information, Documentation and Advocacy Officer” as a subject. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Short-listed candidates will also be asked to take part in a writing test.  Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

MMN Holds the Second Policy Dialogue on Roles of Countries of Origin to Launch “Social Protection Across Borders”

From 16-17 September, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) organised the second Policy Dialogue on the Roles of Countries of Origin in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. More than 40 representatives from governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), recruitment agencies’ associations from Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, the Embassies of the Republic of the Philippines and Japan in Phnom Penh and intergovernmental organisations gathered to hear research findings from the MMN’s most recent publication and discuss how countries of origin can expand their role in enhancing migrants’ access to social protection across borders. The Policy Dialogue took place in tandem with a Labour Ministerial Conference held on 17 September in Siem Reap between governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (CLMTV) aimed at creating a joint framework on the portability of social security for migrant workers in CLMTV.

Between 2018 and 2019, the MMN conducted a research project to examine current efforts in countries of origin, namely Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, to facilitate migrant workers’ access to social protection throughout the migration cycle and highlight migrants’ experiences in accessing these mechanisms. The resulting study, entitled, “Social Protection Across Borders: Roles of Countries of Origin in Protecting Migrants’ Rights”, is based on case studies of migrant workers currently in Thailand, migrant returnees in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam and interviews with government officials, CSOs and recruitment agencies’ associations. The report highlights recurring issues faced by migrant workers across the three countries in accessing social protection schemes in destination countries and at home.

In her opening remarks, Her Excellency Ms Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, noted the importance of multilateral collaboration between countries of origin to address common issues and concerns faced by migrant workers in the region. Ms Yin Yin Ohn, Deputy Director-General, Social Security Board, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, Myanmar, also believed that enhanced international cooperation is necessary as migration is “multi-dimensioned, complex and involves cross-border and cross-cutting issues.” Regarding migrant workers’ access to social protection, she reported that the Myanmar government is currently negotiating with the governments of Thailand and Malaysia to enable the portability of social security for migrant workers. 

In the following seven panels of the Policy Dialogue, the MMN presented its key findings along with recommendations for governments and recruitment agencies of countries of origin to enhance migrant workers’ access to social protection. In the discussion, participants also addressed a number of topics, including the current initiatives by different stakeholders to disseminate information relating to social protection schemes of destination countries, types of support available to migrant workers by embassies and diplomatic missions, the roles and responsibilities of recruitment agencies in assisting migrant workers’ access to social protection and the current progress regarding the establishment of mechanisms to support portable social security between destination countries and countries of origin. 

At the end of each day, participants of the Policy Dialogue broke into groups consisting of a cross-section of representatives from governments, CSOs and recruitment agencies’ associations to discuss existing gaps in policies and practices to support access to social protection, specifically under the themes of “migration mechanisms”, “information dissemination”, “overseas assistance”, “roles and responsibilities of recruitment agencies”, “international cooperation”, “assistance upon return” and “social security in countries of origin”. Based on the results of the discussion, participants collectively developed a set of recommendations to address identified gaps and improve access to social protection. Key recommendations for governments of countries of origin include:

  • Ensuring information relevant to migrant workers’ benefits and rights is available, understandable and accessible; 
  • Enhancing cooperation between Labour Attachés/Counsellors and different stakeholders, such as CSOs, in order to strengthen migrant workers’ access to social protection; 
  • Effectively monitoring recruitment agencies to make sure they comply with legal standards; and 
  • Encouraging recruitment agencies to adopt and uphold industry Codes of Conduct. 

In the long term, countries of origin should ensure uninterrupted and transferrable social protection regardless of migrants’ location of work; encourage the formation of a subcommittee under the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers to establish a framework for the portability of social protection; develop inclusive social protection schemes that migrants can voluntarily participate in and access when abroad; and establish flexible money transfer systems enabling migrants to contribute to social protection schemes through digital systems. Countries of origin should also take steps towards establishing a welfare fund for migrants in their respective countries at the appropriate time.

Over the course of the two-day Policy Dialogue, participants recognised the need for continued cross-country and multistakeholder collaboration to further enhance migrants’ access to social protection and better safeguard their rights. The MMN thanks all participants for their contributions to an engaging discussion.

Participants of the Second Policy Dialogue on the Roles of Countries of Origin

Her Excellency Ms Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, delivers a keynote speech at the Policy Dialogue

Ms Yin Yin Ohn, Deputy Director-General, Social Security Board, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, Myanmar, delivers a keynote speech at the Policy Dialogue

A panel on information dissemination at the Policy Dialogue

A panel on international cooperation at the Policy Dialogue

A small group discussion at the Policy Dialogue

A participant presents on some of the gaps in existing policies and practices, along with recommendations, to disseminate information to migrant workers

    

MMN Releases Social Protection Across Borders: Roles of Countries of Origin in Protecting Migrants’ Rights

As a network of migrant support organisations, grassroots movements, and research institutes from across the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) works to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers and their families. The collaborative research presented in this publication comes at a time when formal social protection schemes are taking shape across the GMS, and migrant workers from the region are travelling, in ever greater numbers, to countries where social protection programmes are well established. Access to social protection for this growing cross-border workforce requires an urgent policy response, as migrant workers risk being excluded or denied access to benefits and left insufficiently protected in terms of their life cycle needs.

The present research examines the role of GMS countries of origin in improving accesses to social protection programmes both at home and overseas. Focusing specifically on Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, it scrutinises the ways in which governments and other stakeholders from these countries of origin safeguard the social protection rights of their nationals, both when migrating abroad and upon return. The country-specific chapters that form the bulk of this study provides detailed analysis of the various law and policy frameworks currently in place, highlights policy gaps, and illustrates how these play out in real life through case studies of workers who have migrated to Thailand and Japan. In examining migrants’ access to social protection at home and abroad, a rigorous research methodology was employed, including desk research, key informant interviews, multi-stakeholder workshops and the collection of migrant case studies.

Published in September 2019. PDF is available here.

 

Press Release: The MMN welcomes commitments made by governments of CLMTV on the portability of social security for migrant workers

20 September 2019

Press Release: The MMN welcomes commitments made by governments of CLMTV on the portability of social security for migrant workers 

During a two-day Policy Dialogue on the Roles of Countries of Origin organised by the Mekong Migration Network (MMN), representatives of governments, recruitment agencies’ associations and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) from Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam jointly developed recommendations to enhance migrant workers’ access to various social protection schemes, including social security systems. 

From 16-17 September, representatives of governments, CSOs, recruitment agencies’ associations from Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, the Embassies of the Republic of the Philippines and Japan in Phnom Penh and intergovernmental organisations gathered in Phnom Penh to hear research findings from the MMN’s most recent publication and discuss how countries of origin can expand their role in enhancing migrants’ access to social protection across borders. The Policy Dialogue took place in tandem with a Labour Ministerial Conference held on 17 September in Siem Reap between governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (CLMTV) aimed at creating a joint framework on the portability of social security for migrant workers in CLMTV. The MMN welcomes commitments made by governments of CLMTV in this regard.

Between 2018 and 2019, the MMN conducted a research project to examine current efforts in countries of origin, namely Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, to facilitate migrant workers’ access to social protection throughout the migration cycle and highlight migrants’ experiences in accessing these mechanisms. The resulting study, entitled, “Social Protection Across Borders: Roles of Countries of Origin”, is based on case studies of migrant workers currently in Thailand, migrant returnees in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam and interviews with government officials, CSOs and recruitment agencies’ associations. The report highlights recurring issues faced by migrant workers across the three countries in accessing social protection schemes in destination countries and at home.

Her Excellency Ms Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, noted in her keynote speech the importance of multilateral collaboration among countries of origin in protecting migrants’ rights. She stated, “We face common issues across countries of origin and need common solutions. Sometimes we can work separately, but the results are different when we collaborate to bring issues to destination countries.”

Ms Yin Yin Ohn, Deputy Director-General, Social Security Board, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, Myanmar, remarked, “We recognise the importance of social protection for migrant workers…Myanmar is currently negotiating with destination countries such as Malaysia and Thailand to enable the portability of social security for Myanmar workers.”

During the Policy Dialogue, participants addressed a number of topics, including the current initiatives by different stakeholders to disseminate information relating to social protection schemes of destination countries, types of support available to migrant workers by embassies and diplomatic missions, the roles and responsibilities of recruitment agencies in assisting migrant workers’ access to social protection and the current progress regarding the establishment of mechanisms to support portable social security between destination countries and countries of origin.

In order to better promote migrant workers’ access to social protection, participants collectively developed recommendations focusing on several aspects of the migration journey. Key recommendations for governments of countries of origin include:

  • Ensuring information relevant to migrant workers’ benefits and rights is available, understandable and accessible; 
  • Enhancing cooperation between Labour Attachés/Counsellors and different stakeholders, such as CSOs, in order to strengthen migrant workers’ access to social protection; 
  • Effectively monitoring recruitment agencies to make sure they comply with legal standards; and
  • Encouraging recruitment agencies to adopt and uphold industry Codes of Conduct.

In the long term, countries of origin should ensure uninterrupted and transferrable social protection regardless of migrants’ location of work; encourage the formation of a subcommittee under the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers to establish a framework for the portability of social protection; develop inclusive social protection schemes that migrants can voluntarily participate in and access when abroad; and establish flexible money transfer systems enabling migrants to contribute to social protection schemes through digital systems. Countries of origin should also take steps towards establishing a welfare fund for migrants in their respective countries at the appropriate time.

About the Mekong Migration Network 

The Mekong Migration Network (MMN), founded in 2003, is a subregional network of migrant support NGOs, migrant grassroots groups and research institutes. The central goal of the MMN is to promote the welfare, well-being, dignity and human rights (especially labour, women’s and family rights) of migrants in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and to build mutual support and solidarity among migrants and advocates within the GMS. To achieve this goal, the MMN jointly carries out research, advocacy, capacity building and networking. For more information about the MMN, please visit www.mekongmigration.org


Contact Information

For more information about the Policy Dialogue, please contact: 

Reiko Harima, MMN Regional Coordinator, at reiko@mekongmigration.org (English or Japanese);

Sokchar Mom, Executive Director, Legal Support for Children and Women, Cambodia, at sokchar_mom@lscw.org (Khmer and English); 

Ms Thet Thet Aung, Director, Future Light Center, Myanmar, at thet2aung2012@gmail.com (Burmese);

Mr Brahm Press, Executive Director, MAP Foundation, Thailand, at brahm.press@gmail.com (English or Thai); and

Ms Trang Hoang, MMN Project Coordinator, at trang@mekongmigration.org (English or Vietnamese). 

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