In the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), millions of migrant workers are employed in various sectors including agriculture, fisheries, construction, factory, domestic work, mining etc. and making a significant contribution to the economy and society of both the country of origin and the host country.
While there have been some policy developments in recognizing the rights of migrant workers, there remains a huge gap in realizing these rights, and migrants continue to face a number of problems including non or underpayment of wages, long working hours and/or no day off, poor OHS standards, inhumane living condition, no right to form their own trade union, and risk of arrest, detention and deportation.
In September 2001, the Asian Migrant Centre and more than 20 regional and national research partners in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) initiated a collaborative action research project entitled “Migration in the Mekong”.
Following the completion of the first phase of the project, the project partners of the first phase as well as other interested organizations from the GMS met again in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in October 2003.
All the participants felt it would be desirable to form a network through which they could exchange information and conduct joint programs, due to the difficulty in assessing the issues and effectively advocating for the protection of migrants without cross-border collaboration.
It was in this context that Mekong Migration Network (MMN) was launched.
Guided by the MMN Terms of Partnership and the MMN Plan of Action, the MMN has since jointly carried out a number of activities in the areas of advocacy, capacity building, information monitoring, research and publication.
Joint Information Monitoring:
*The MMN collectively monitor policies, issues and responses concerning migration in Mekong and serves as a venue where migrant advocates can effectively exchange the information and analysis.
*The MMN carry out a research on migration policies and selected thematic issues and collectively analyse them. The results of the research are published in “Migration in Mekong: Resource Book” series; and
*Compile and annotate the references relevant to migration in Mekong and publish them as “Migration in Mekong: Annotated Bibliography” series.
*The MMN collectively advocates for full recognition of the basic human rights of migrant workers and their families though organising symposia and meetings where migrant advocates and policy makers can exchange their views, intervening regional and international meetings, circulating action alerts & statements, and holding policy dialogues with relevant authority.
Joint Capacity Building:
*The MMN organises national training on various topics to enhance the MMN collective capacity in analysing the current issues and promoting migrants’ rights.
*The MMN also organizes training for policy makers in Mekong to enhance their capacity to create and implement policies on migration from human rights, labour rights and gender perspectives.
Through its Homepage, the MMN makes the following information available to wide audience: migration related policies, migration statistics, action alerts, newspaper articles, references on migration in Mekong, MMN activities, and MMN publications.