Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:19 Mizzima News
(Mizzima) – Members of parliament from Asean countries will conduct a fact-finding tour in Thailand to highlight issues surrounding Burmese migrant labourers and other migrants.
The migrant worker issue has long been a concern for all Asean member states and especially the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC); the group’s members will visit Thailand from Thursday to Saturday.
Members will travel to Phang Nga Province in southwest Thailand to draw attention to the lack of social protection mechanisms for migrant workers, who are often vulnerable and exploited.
“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,” the group said in a press release. “But in many cases, Burmese migrants, treated as second-class citizens, face human rights abuses from employers and the Thai authorities and many continue to live a life governed by fear, violence, abuse, corruption and intimidation.”
“Widespread development projects in Myanmar have increased concern that people will be forcibly removed from their lands and livelihoods, creating further migration to Thailand other neighbouring states,” the statement said.
Over the past few years, AIPMC has increasingly sought to bring such issues to the fore, and it works alongside a network of civil society organizations campaigning on the issue of migrant workers’ rights.
Economic development and reforms taking place in Burma 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,” said the statement.
During the 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. 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.
Among those attending the trip will be: Kraisak Choonhavan, AIPMC vice president; Muhammad Gamari Sutrisno, Indonesian MP; Dr. Nova Riyanti Yusuf, Indonesian MP; and Dr. Rachada Dhnadirek, AIPMC Member, and 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.
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus is a network formed in 2004. It advocates for human rights and democratic reform in Burma. Its members represent both the ruling and non-ruling political parties of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia.