Launching a new project: Mekong Vocabulary on Labour Migration – promoting a common language understanding in the region and building a regional network for safe migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

In late 2009 MMN launched a new project entitled “Mekong Vocabulary on Labour Migration – promoting a common language understanding in the region and building a regional network for safe migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).” The initiative is supported by the Toyota Foundation Asian Neighbors Program.

Millions of migrant workers in the GMS continue to work and live without any form of immigration status or sufficient labour protection. In order to formulate coherent responses, cross-border and multi-sector collaboration are crucial. Existing efforts are sometimes hindered by a lack of common understanding of the issues and relevant terminologies. This is a result of both language barriers and differing, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives on migration issues.

Hence the project aims to increase common understanding of terminologies by filling an information gap and providing a forum for informative discussion and collaborative application of these terms among participating civil society groups. Three small workshops will be held for the project partners to discuss the various terminologies and their definition of the terms in English and in the GMS languages.

As part of the project MMN will also produce a booklet describing various labour protections in the respective GMS labour laws. This will be used as a reference guide for civil society and government agencies to better understand policies of neighbouring countries. The direct beneficiaries of this project will be civil society organisations working on migration issues in the GMS. However, publications from the project will also be used for government meetings and training – thus there is potential to help policy dialogue in the GMS become more in-depth and be based on mutual understanding.

The first workshop was held on 26-27th February, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand, with around 20 project members from the six GMS countries. During the workshop project members participated in several activities, including identifying differences in understanding migration terms, and collectively making a detailed work plan. The second workshop is scheduled for September 2010.

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