International Migrants Day (IMD) 2016 was celebrated at Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) in Yangon on 18 December. The Myanmar Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Labour Organizations (LOs) Network for Migrants organized the event with support from International Labour Organization-Yangon (ILO-Yangon) and UN ACT. The theme of this year’s event was: “Respect Migrants’ Power, Give Equality Now!”
The event attracted over 1,000 participants ranging from migrant returnees to individual workers, and members of labour unions and various community-based organizations. MMN member organization 88 Generation Peace and Open Society took part in the celebration. MMN managed a photo booth at the event and distributed publications to the public. There were around 300 people who came to the photo booth and around 600 people who visited the publication table.
Ms. Jackie Pollock from ILO-Yangon gave the opening speech, which introduced the event and listed reasons to celebrate. There were also speeches presented by Mr. Myo Min on behalf of the Myanmar CSOs and LOs Network, Anti-Human Trafficking Ambassador Ms. Khine Hnin Wai, and Mr. Aung Myo Min representing Equality Network Myanmar.
Mr. Aung Myo Min’s presentation urged the Myanmar Government to ratify the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and to recognize and value migrants’ contributions to society. During the event, attendees played games and quizzes, which tested their knowledge of IMD, labour migration, and migration issues.
International Migrants Day 2016 Statement
The Myanmar Civil Society Organizations and Labour Organizations Network for Migrants urges the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to:
- Promote better job opportunities, raise wages, and promote skills as a migrant-sending country;
- Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW 1990);
- Prioritize safe labour migration for migrant workers without any fees;
- Protect migrant workers from exploitation and trafficking, reduce inequality, and ensure migrant workers enjoy full labour rights, especially women migrants;
- Work together on social security and social protection with other government officials in ASEAN;
- Work with governments, employers, and organizations to promote migrant children’s access to fundamental rights, including citizenship rights;
- Establish effective laws and policies for labour migration and give proper penalties to the agencies and individuals who violate codes of conduct; and
- Establish effective laws to protect fishing boat workers and domestic workers.