Thursday, March 18, 2010

Deaths of Migrants Must be Investigated

Mekong Migration Network ( MMN)

Press Release:

Deaths of Migrants Must be Investigated

March 17th 2010

On February 25th 2010, in Pak Nam sub-district, Ranong province, soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division fired on a pickup truck carrying 13 undocumented migrant workers from Burma, resulting in the deaths of three migrant children. Those killed were a three or four year old, six or seven year old girl, and a 16-year-old boy. Five others were also injured during the shooting .

On March 9th 2010, in Phuket, a 20-year-old woman and a young girl from Burma drowned in a river while fleeing from the police who arrived at the worker’s quarters at night. The woman had a work permit and was enrolled in the new nationality verification program and the girl was holding the temporary identification document (Tor Ror 38/1). According to a witness, workers nearby were too afraid to go and rescue the drowning pair, as the police held them off at gun point.

The Mekong Migration Network (MMN), a sub-regional network of 38 member organisations working together to protect migrants’ rights in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), is appalled by such tragic deaths of innocent children and women. These deaths would have been avoided if proper procedures had been followed and if the safety and well-being of migrants was respected.

In 2006-2007, the MMN conducted collaborative research on the arrest, detention and deportation (“ADD”) of migrant workers in the GMS and highlighted serious human rights abuses, as well as a lack of transparency and accountability during processes that involved ADD. While MMN’s core recommendation is that policies be amended so that migrants are not constantly at risk of arrest, detention and deportation, in the event that migrants are arrested, detained or deported, we called for the procedures to be carried out in a humane, safe and transparent manner and only by authorized, trained authorities. .

In response to these latest tragedies, The Mekong Migration Network urgently calls for the Royal Thai Government to:

1. Conduct full and impartial investigations into these events to ensure that the authorities involved are held liable for their actions.

2. Facilitate access to justice for the victims and their families and ensure that they receive adequate redress.

3. Take immediate steps to ensure that the relevant authorities enforce safe and humane procedures during the arrest and deportation of migrant workers according to the Thai Criminal Procedure Code; the 1997 Measures in Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children Act (Section 9); and Article 22 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant workers and their Families (1999).

4. Address the level of fear and insecurity that has been created in the migrant community which leads to even fully documented migrants being terrified of uniformed officers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wrongful termination because they asked the employer to follow the law on Levy deduction!

Today workers are in tripartite negotiation with employer and labour department . We hope they can reach agreement soon and workers will be entitling to their rights such as salary, levy deduction and other compensations.

Myanmar workers laid off without valid notice

Submitted by pekwan on Monday, March 15th, 2010

Monday, March 15th, 2010 12:12:00

ALL¬ROUND MISERY: Myanmar workers live in shabby conditions — Pic: HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
KUALA LUMPUR: In Myanmar, US$850 (about RM2,900) is enough to sustain a person comfortably for a year, and that's what Zar Ni Swe from Yangon paid to an agent to get a job as a waitress in a restaurant in Malaysia.
But on Feb 15, the second day of the Chinese New Year, Ni Swe, along with 25 other Myanmar waiters and waitresses at Jogoya Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, were given a week's notice that their services were no longer required.
This heart-breaking news was conveyed to them in a memo which gave no reason nor was it signed.
On top of that, the memo had more bad news — the first part dealt with Myanmar waiters who had savings, and the second part for those who didn't have money.
In the case of Ni Swe, she was asked to pay a RM450 levy to the restaurant, also a month's salary of RM150 as compensation for her "previous mistakes" (no matter whether she was at fault or not) and also immigration costs of RM150.

Those with no savings were told to work for another company until they paid their dues to get their passports back.
Ni Swe, who worked for almost four years, had the courage to ask the restaurant management why she and her countrymen and women were given a week's notice when it should have been a three months'. No satisfactory answer was given.

Allegedly too, the restaurant had not paid their February salary. What followed were frantic attempts to seek help from their agents in Myanmar ("We cannot help") and Malaysia ("We cannot help too"), embassy of Myanmar ("Call your agents"), the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, or Suhakam ("Wait for labour office to investigate"), police ("Call your agents") and the Federal Territory Department of Labour ("Give us some time to investigate").
A closer look at the hostel where Ni Swe and another 69 Myanmars were staying.

The hostel is a four-storey building at Jalan Changkat Thamby Dollah. The restaurant and storeroom are on the first floor, the male workers live on the second floor and the females live on the third floor.

From Malaymail