MOEAF mem­bers sign code of con­duct

The Myanmar Times - - News - ZAW ZAW HTWE za­wza­whtwe@mm­times.com

AS con­tro­versy con­tin­ues to swirl around al­le­ga­tions that the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment was con­don­ing the “le­gal traf­fick­ing” of mi­grant work­ers to over­seas jobs, it has emerged that more than 100 em­ploy­ment agen­cies have signed up to a new code of con­duct.

Ear­lier this month, Thai and Myan­mar labour of­fi­cials vowed to take ac­tion against ac­tivist or­gan­i­sa­tions that had ac­cused them of com­plic­ity in poor work­ing con­di­tions en­dured by Myan­mar work­ers in the king­dom.

Two rights groups, the Myan­mar As­so­ci­a­tion in Thai­land (MAT) and the Aid Al­liance Com­mit­tee for Myan­mar Work­ers (AAC), had com­pared the for­mal, sanc­tioned chan­nels for send­ing Myan­mar labour­ers over­seas via mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing to ex­ploita­tive hu­man smug­gling rings. The Myan­mar labour min­istry then threat­ened un­spec­i­fied ac­tion against them.

The code of con­duct, which is de­signed to im­prove mi­grants’ work­ing con­di­tions, was drawn up by the Myan­mar Over­seas Em­ploy­ment Agen­cies’ Fed­er­a­tion with the help of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO). On Au­gust 19, 122 of 143 agen­cies signed the doc­u­ment at Yan­gon’s Novo­tel Max Ho­tel in front of of­fi­cials from the ILO and the Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion.

“I want agency mem­bers to re­gard this code of con­duct as a shield. We’re signing to demon­strate the level of our ser­vices to the me­dia and so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions that have at­tacked our agen­cies,” said U Win Tun, deputy chair of MOEAF.

How­ever, he said that de­spite the in­volve­ment of MOEAF mem­bers in the draft­ing of the code, some mem­bers were not in­ter­ested in signing. Ini­tially, only about 40 mem­bers had un­der­taken to com­ply with its pro­vi­sions.

“We’re be­ing crit­i­cised be­cause some agen­cies couldn’t fol­low the rules. If the agen­cies com­ply with the code, I be­lieve our rep­u­ta­tion will im­prove,” he told par­tic­i­pants at the signing cer­e­mony.

MOEAF of­fi­cials told The Myan­mar Times that the rules laid down in the code of con­duct were not very dif­fer­ent from the rules laid down by the min­istry when the agen­cies ap­plied for an over­seas em­ploy­ment li­cence.

The code is ex­pected to spell out the rights of Myan­mar mi­grants more clearly and to mon­i­tor the ser­vice stan­dards of the agen­cies, MOEAF said.

“We will award marks and rat­ings to agen­cies ac­cord­ing to their level of com­pli­ance with the rules and their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for the treat­ment of the mi­grants they have sent abroad. If they fol­low the rules, their rep­u­ta­tion will be en­hanced,” said U Kyaw Zaw, gen­eral sec­re­tary of MOEAF.

Photo: Zaw Zaw Htwe

MOEAF mem­bers at­tend the signing cer­e­mony in Yan­gon on Au­gust 19.

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