Govt to launch pi­lot for over­seas do­mes­tic work­ers

The Myanmar Times - - News - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­

THE gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to launch a pi­lot pro­ject aimed at pro­tect­ing the rights of do­mes­tic work­ers from Myan­mar who are em­ployed in Thai­land, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong and Tai­wan, an of­fi­cial from the Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion said yes­ter­day.

In co­op­er­a­tion with over­seas Myan­mar em­bassies, the gov­ern­ment plans to col­lect lists of un­doc­u­mented house­maids who are work­ing il­le­gally in these five coun­tries.

U Thein Win, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the De­part­ment of Mi­grant Af­fairs un­der the min­istry, said plan­ning for the pi­lot pro­ject was in its early stages, but the gov­ern­ment wants to in­form all par­ties who might be­come in­volved in the process, in­clud­ing Myan­mar em­bassies and rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties in the tar­get coun­tries.

“Af­ter we col­lect the lists of do­mes­tic work­ers, we plan to give them le­gal iden­tity cards,” he said. “We will also try to pro­tect their le­gal rights by ne­go­ti­at­ing with au­thor­i­ties in the coun­tries where they are work­ing.”

He added that nearly 40,000 do­mes­tic work­ers are em­ployed in Sin­ga­pore and al­most 30,000 are work­ing in Thai­land, many of whom suf­fer abuse and forced labour.

“There­fore, the Union gov­ern­ment wants to take steps to pro­tect them to the best of our abil­ity,” U Thein Win said.

Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment stopped send­ing do­mes­tic work­ers over­seas in 2014 as a re­sult of a string of abuse cases, but many women have trav­elled to other coun­tries un­of­fi­cially to take such jobs.

Daw Khin Nway Oo, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral for the min­istry, said the gov­ern­ment would con­sider re­vers­ing this de­ci­sion only af­ter lists of un­doc­u­mented work­ers are col­lected and ne­go­ti­a­tions are made with other coun­tries to af­ford these work­ers le­gal rights.

“Even some le­gal do­mes­tic work­ers have faced abuse but they had no le­gal re­course be­cause their host coun­tries were not will­ing to ac­cept their le­gal rights,” she said. “There­fore, we are try­ing to pro­tect them be­fore we move for­ward.”

Photo: Kaung Htet

Do­mes­tic work­ers from Myan­mar have been sub­jected to an ar­ray of abuses from em­ploy­ers while work­ing abroad.

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