Vice President U Myint Swe delivers the speech at the ceremony to commemorate the International Migrants Day at the MICC-II in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA
Nay Pyi Taw commemorated International Migrants Day at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II yesterday with Vice President U Myint Swe delivering the opening speech.
In his speech, the Vice President first explained that 18 December was designated as International Migrants Day by the UN General Assembly during the 55th Session in 2000. He said this is the eighth year Myanmar has commemorated the event.
The Vice President said there are numerous factors for the rise of migrant workers and these include global economic shifts, different economic development rates among nations, difference in wages, seeking better job opportunities, climate change, and technological advancements making information on migration easily accessible which makes migrating for work between nations, especially from a developing country to a developed country, more common.
The Vice President said there has been a noticeable increase in migrant workers as a report in 2014 showed there were 150 million migrant workers around the world and it increased to 272 million in 2019, according to a UN report.
He said this year’s International Migrants Day theme was ‘Migration and Social Cohesion’ and focuses on how individual cooperation can benefit society, working together for the good of everyone, ensuring no ostracizing occurs, and increasing trust.
The Vice President called for the need to promote safe, systematic and legal migration for work and reducing illegal migration to other countries. He said taking illegal routes to migration carries the possibility of people landing in dangerous work environments, exploitation, unfulfilled rights and opportunities, human trafficking, forced labour and insufficient pay.
Myanmar participated in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration with other UN member nations in December 2018, said the Vice President. He said the agreement is not legally binding but reflects the pledge to cooperate among the member nations and will bring numerous benefits to Myanmar. He said female migrant workers and children are the most susceptible to exploitation and their needs should not be forgotten when implementing processes for better migrating work systems.
The Vice President said that migrant workers in Southeast Asia are usually indebted and a major portion of their pay is used to repay owed money. He said this greatly delays development in their lives and is a challenge to sustainable family reunification. He said being free of debt will allow the creation of a good environment. He said the money migrant workers transfer back to their families is an important part of a nation’s GDP and as such, should be provided with a safe channel of remittance.
The Vice President said as expenses for migrant workers should be reduced and traveling implemented seriously, some employers are doing it for zero cost and the government is pushing for all employers to adopt this practice. He urged for licensed overseas employment agencies to abide by existing laws, bylaws, rules and regulations.
Next, the Vice President took a documentary photo with the attendees and concluded the first half of the programme. He then observed the commemorative displays of photographs, books and reports on International Migrants Day.
Later in the second part of the programme, a video clip on the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) assistance to the Myanmar government in promoting constructive benefits of migration and protecting the rights of migrant Myanmar workers was shown.
This was followed by Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe delivering an address on International Migrants Day and IOM Chief of Mission Mr Akio Nakayama read messages from the UN Secretary-General and the IOM Director-General.
Afterwards, the Union Minister conferred certificates of honor on the Joint Myanmar Affairs Committee, Bangkok-based Migrant Workers Network, Migrant Workers Rights Network, Education and Development Foundation, and Labour Hittai for all their assistance with the affairs of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand and the education, healthcare and social affairs of their families.
The event was attended by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr Pe Myint, U Thein Swe and Dr Win Myat Aye, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman Dr Myo Aung, Deputy Minister U Kyaw Myo, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Nyi Tun, regional/state cabinet ministers, Pyithu and Amyotha Hluttaw representatives, Ambassadors and diplomats, permanent secretaries, directors-general, department heads, UN officials, representatives of INGOs, NGOs, employers and employees, and invited guests.—MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)