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MPs and Politicians from ASEAN on February 23-25 Fact-Finding Mission to Phang Nga, Thailand to Highlight Plight Faced by Burmese Migrants

By ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus  •  February 21, 2012

Leading ASEAN MPs and members of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) will be in Thailand on a three-day fact-finding mission from February 23-25 to raise awareness on issues surrounding migrant labour in the region, particularly of Burmese migrants in Thailand.

The issue of migrant workers has long been a concern for all ASEAN member states and AIPMC has been working to bring greater focus at the ASEAN level to this serious issue. Major steps must be taken at both the national and regional level to ensure greater protection for migrant workers.

MPs and AIPMC members will travel to Phang Nga province in southwest Thailand to seek out information and draw attention to the lack of social protection mechanisms for migrant workers, who are some of the most vulnerable and exploited members of ASEAN societies. Many Burmese escaping poverty and persecution at home come to Thailand in search of better-paid work and a better life for them and their families. But in many cases, Burmese migrants, treated as second-class citizens, face human rights abuses from employers and the Thai authorities and continue to live a life governed by fear, violence, abuse, corruption and intimidation. Widespread development projects in Myanmar has increased concern that people will be forcibly removed from their lands and livelihoods, creating further migration to Thailand other neighbouring states.

Over the past few years, AIPMC has increasingly sought to bring these issues to the fore at the ASEAN level. AIPMC is working alongside a network of civil society organisations campaigning on the issue of migrant workers’ rights to remind the government of Myanmar, the international community and ASEAN that any economic development and reforms taking place in Myanmar must be carried out with full respect of the rights of all of its citizens, including their social, labour, economic and political rights. A mismanaged economic policy that does not protect the individual rights of Myanmar’s citizens could lead to further economic migration and continued abuses against Burmese on both sides of the border.

Among those attending the trip will be: Mr. Kraisak Choonhavan, AIPMC Vice-President; Mr. Muhammad Gamari Sutrisno, Indonesian MP; Dr. Nova Riyanti Yusuf, Indonesian MP; and Dr. Rachada Dhnadirek, AIPMC Member, Thailand MP.

Also joining the fact-finding trip will be Congressman Walden Bello, a leading intellectual activist representing the Akbayan party in the Philippines Congress, and Chairman of the Congressional Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.

During the two-day visit, MPs will meet with local NGOS working with migrants to find out in more detail about the issues facing Burmese migrant workers in Thailand and Phang Nga. This will include a visit to the FED’s Migrant Learning Center, and visits to meet with migrant workers at a local rubber plantation community in Bang Niang and Thablamu Fishing Village. MPs and AIPMC members will also meet with provincial authorities to share information and ideas on migrant labour laws and discuss ways in which the rights of migrant labourers can be better protected.

For further information, interview requests, more detailed itinerary or requests to attend any of the official visits, please contact Aticha Wongwian (Thailand) on +66 8 79 923 703, or info.bangkok@aseanmp.org, or Agung Putri Astrid (Indonesia) on +62 81514006416, or by email at info.jakarta@aseanmp.org.

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This post is in: Press Release

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