VP U Myint Swe attends 2017 International Migrants Day ceremony

Vice President U Myint Swe delivers the speech at the International Migrants Day 2017. Photo: MNA
Vice President U Myint Swe delivers the speech at the International Migrants Day 2017. Photo: MNA

International Migrants Day was observed in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, which was attended by Vice President U Myint Swe.
U Myint Swe delivered an opening address at the ceremony which was held with the theme of “Safe Migration in World on the Move” at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-2 (MICC-2).
The event was attended by Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw representatives, heads of departments, diplomats, personnel from United Nations and international non-government organizations and officials.
In his speech, Vice President U Myint Swe called for giving legal protection to migrant workers and giving priority to women and children.
“Women and children are vulnerable to the effects of migration and this point should be taken into consideration when laws or policies are drawn for migrant rights,” said U Myint Swe.
He also stressed the need to produce more skilled workers in Myanmar who can meet the changing requirements of the labour market.
Within the ASEAN region, there are about 6.5 million migrant workers and Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are the main destinations. From 1995 to 2015 the numbers of migration within the region increased significantly.
The World Bank’s report published in 2017 October said unskilled and undocumented ASEAN migratory workers seek jobs in construction, agriculture and domestic helpers for economic opportunity.
Regional countries and international organizations are cooperating internationally on the matter of migrant workers.
Myanmar signed the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers at 31st ASEAN Summit held in Philippines on November 2017. The declaration was signed with the aim to setup a framework on migrant workers under close cooperation and by working together with ASEAN countries. This reflects Myanmar’s firm commitment toward social protection of migrant workers in the region, obtaining justice, health protection, humane and fair treatment of migrant workers, said U Myint Swe.
Furthermore, Myanmar is participating to endorse the global agreement on safe, systematic and legal migration in 2018. In order to include Myanmar’s remarks supporting safe, systematic and legal migration with facts and positive suggestion in the agreement, a national level workshop was held in November.
Vice President U Myint Swe also called for ensuring a safe and secure method of transferring money by migrant workers to their homes as money remitted by migrant workers from developing countries to their family is a major source of GDP for their home country.
“More effort is required to have a safe and secure way of remitting money to their families,” said the Vice President.
In conclusion, the Vice President urged all to cooperate in establishing a complete and successful society where migrant workers who contribute towards the economic development of both the host country and country of origin have a safe way of migrating, while being accorded protection and full rights.
A video file depicting activities and movements on migrant workers was then shown to the attendees of the ceremony.
Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe said the ministry has assisted the country’s mingrant workers, who returned home after working in foreign countries, to be able to use their vocational skills at their best in Myanmar.
For these aims to be achieved 261 employment agencies including one government employment agency is systematically sending workers to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, some middle east countries and some other countries according to the 1999 Overseas Employment Law.
Amendment to the Overseas Employment Law has been drawn for it to be in accordance with the time and international standards. According to Myanmar-Thailand Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in employing workers, un-documented Myanmar migrant workers who were in Thailand illegally were legalized by issuing identity, temporary passport, ordinary passport and foreign worker identifications. From 2009 to end November 2017, a total of 2.4 million have been provided with the documents.
Increasing cooperation between the two countries on migrant workers will greatly support the economic and social development of the country. Migrant workers should seek oversea jobs legally and they should understand the work condition, employer/employee agreement, rules, laws and regulations of the respective country and work site requirement.
A gap in the labour market, decreasing in number of legal migrant workers and access to the illegal market have attracted migrant workers. To eradicate the illegal migration, cooperation of not only the host country and country of origin but the employment agencies, international organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs) is required. We are doing our best in doing everything according to the policy on migration on the matter of migrant workers said the Union Minister.
It is to be noted that migration can bring benefits like providing livelihood for the family, increasing the living standard and provide education to the children as well as harms such as facing unfairness and undergoing unforeseeable sufferings.
Furthermore, women and children are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Therefore in providing them with protection, understanding and obtaining the full rights according to the relevant country’s labour law depend not only on the government but the cooperation of all stakeholders and CSOs, said the Union Minister.
Next, IOM Chief of Mission Mr. Akio Nakayama read the messages from the United Nations Secretary General and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General.
Afterwards, Union Minister U Thein Swe presented certificates of honor to officials of Education and Development Foundation, Group on Cooperating for Myanmar People’s affairs and Bangkok based Myanmar Migrant Workers Network who helped the affairs of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, including the education, health and social affairs of the family members. The Union Minister also presented education support money for children of migrant workers.
The Union Minister then took commemorative group photo with event attendees and viewed the photo record of activities on migrant workers, displayed books and magazines.—Myanmar News Agency (Unofficial Translation)

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