MAP Foundation thanks Oxfam NOVIB for 15 years of support

Written by Super User on . Posted in Open Letters

MAP would like to acknowledge the constant and consistent support that Oxfam NOVIB has provided to MAP since its beginning. We are truly thankful for the trust that NOVIB put in us 15 years ago when we were just setting out on a venture to build strong migrant communities and promote equality and justice for migrant workers from Burma. When we think back to that time, there is of course huge sadness too. The support that MAP received from NOVIB was initially the second phase of a research project by Images Asia on Burmese migrants. Pi Sam, from Images Asia, in a gesture so generous and so true to his commitment to support all necessary actions for the benefit of Burmese populations, felt that there should be an organization working on the ground with migrants and requested that NOVIB transfer the second phase of the funds to support MAP instead. Pi Sam so sadly gone from us now in person, remains a guiding spirit for MAP.

That support allowed MAP to develop projects to respond to the needs of migrants, it allowed MAP to strengthen itself institutionally and register as a Foundation and expand our activities to other geographical and thematic areas. Without such support we could not have dared take on the first migrant labour cases in Thailand, we could not have dared to defiantly bring women together against the violence they experienced, we could not have dared to start our own community radios. The support, core funding, that NOVIB provided to us, gave us confidence in ourselves, and security to make big decisions and to take some risks.  We have shared our joys, our sadness, our mistakes, our achievements and our experiments with NOVIB along the way. We cannot imagine how our organisation would be now if we had had to rely on year by year project funding. It would most definitely have taken a narrower route, it would have definitely stayed in the safe lane. We know that Oxfam NOVIB will no longer be our constant partner on this adventure, but we trust that we will at times be able to walk along side by side again. Our goal is the same even if now our route to get there is different. We work for the people of Burma to have their space, to have their rights, to be able to define their own future.  On behalf of all MAP staff, volunteers and migrants who have benefited over the last 15 years, we thank all the people and institutions that have donated to Oxfam NOVIB.
MAP Foundation 2010 Annual Report

Open letter to ASEAN

Written by Super User on . Posted in Open Letters

19 February 2010 

Dr Surin Pitsuwan, 
Secretary General of ASEAN, 
The ASEAN Secretariat, 
70A Jl. Sisingamangaraja, 
Jakarta 12110, Indonesia 
Tel : (6221) 7262991, 7243372  
Fax : (6221) 7398234, 7243504 

Heads of Government of  
Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, 
Lao PDR, Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar), Philippines,  
Singapore, Thailand & Viet Nam, 
c/o Secretary General of ASEAN 

Dear Sirs/Madam, 

Re:  Justice for Workers in Burma 
3,600 Workers Protest for Worker Rights ? February 2010 

On 8/2/2010, about 3,600 factory workers, mostly women, from 3 factories in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone in Rangoon, Burma, protested against low wages and the substandard working conditions they are forced to endure in the factories.  

It was reported that the workers at the Taiyee shoe factory and the Opal 2 garment factory began protests on Monday calling for higher daily wages, overtime payments and several other demands. On Tuesday, workers from the Kya Lay garment factory joined the strike action.  

The workers, mostly women, staged protests outside the factories and inside a factory compound, where they sat down and refused to work. The three factories employ a total of about 3,600 workers.  

The monthly income of most factory workers in Burma is very low, ranging from 20,000 kyat [USD20] to 40,000 kyat [USD40], thus forcing many workers to work overtime. Most workers work from 7 am to 11 pm daily. Many factory owners employ temporary workers who have no legal recourse if they are fired without compensation, according to former factory workers in Rangoon. More than 80 percent of factory workers in Rangoon work on a day-to-day basis. Most are young women between 15 and 27 years of age who come from the countryside in search of a better living. 
[The Irrawaddy, Authorities Threaten Violence at Rangoon Strike ? http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=17771

The workers? demands in these actions, for example, with regard to wages, as was reported, are for a mere USD10 increase per month. 

The Burmese government?s response to this legitimate industrial action by workers was excessive and oppressive It was reported that, the ??Authorities used barbed wire barricades to block roads leading to the factories in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone in the city's north-east, and more than 50 truckloads of riot police carrying batons and shields were deployed and at least six fire engines and five prison vans were parked near the factories?? [AP - Straits Times, 10/2/2010, Myanmar workers on strike] 

Today (19/2/2010) although the workers are back in the factories, they continue demanding for their rights. In Burma, they are even more vulnerable and powerless without a change in the existing laws to allow the right to assembly and to allow workers the right to form unions. 

Burma is a member of ASEAN, and as such we call upon ASEAN and all ASEAN member countries to do the needful to ensure that workers in Burma, just like other workers in other ASEAN countries, also receive just wages, have a safe and healthy working environment, enjoy the right to form unions and all other universally acknowledged worker and human rights. 

We also call on ASEAN, and ASEAN member countries to closely monitor the current situation at the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone, and ensure that these workers rights are recognized and respected, and that the Burmese government refrains from further interfering in this pursuit of rights by workers in Burma.  

Further, on 23 October 2009, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN presided over the Inaugural Ceremony of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), during which they also announced the ?Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Inauguration of the AICHR? to pledge full support to this new ASEAN body and emphasize their commitment to further develop cooperation to promote and protect human rights in the region. 

Noting that the primary purpose of the AICHR is to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN, we hope that the AICHR will begin proving that it is not merely a toothless tiger by ensuring that the human rights of these workers in Burma are promoted and protected.  

Many ASEAN member countries, like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, invest significantly in Burma. We hope that these economic and other self-interest considerations will not affect the way ASEAN, and its member nations, response to human rights violations of the ordinary people and workers in ASEAN. 

I look forward to hearing your response, 
Yours sincerely, 
-sgd- 
Pranom Somwong 
Charles Hector 

3585A Kg Lubuk Layang, 
Batu 3, J
28000 Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia .  
alan Mentakab,  Email:- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For and on behalf of the 56 Organizations/groups listed below:- 

ALTSEAN-BURMA 
All Kachin Students and Youth Union 
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Foreign Affairs' Committee) 
Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and development (APWLD) 
Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) 
Asian Migrants Center(AMC) 
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) ? Youth and Women 
'Alltogether', the South Korean left organization 
Amnesty International Philippines 
Batis Aware, Philippines  
Burma Global Action Network 
Burmese Women's Union (BWU) 
Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan 
Burma Campaign, Malaysia 
Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) 
Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) Philippines  
Center for Overseas Workers (COW) 
Coalition against Trafficking in Women ? Asia Pacific 
Chin Democracy and Human Rights Network (South Korea) 
Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd(LLGCSC),                Malaysia  
Committee for Asian Women (CAW) 
Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM) Asia 
Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS) 
Empower Foundation, Thailand  
Free Burma Coalition Philippines (FBC-Philippines) 
Free Burma Coalition ? Philippines (Women's Committee) 
Foundation for Education and Development, Thailand 
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) 
Human Rights and Development Foundation (Thailand) 
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) 
JERIT (Oppressed People's Network, Malaysia) 
Kachin Development Networking Group  
Korean House for International Solidarity, KHIS 
Labour Behind the Label, United Kingdom  
MAP Foundation, Thailand  
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) 
MSC/NWC- Sri Lanka,  
MAKALAYA (Women Workers Network) 
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) 
National League for Democracy [NLD (LA)], Malaysia 
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM) 
Network for Democracy and Development 
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia, PSM) 
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISA-KA) 
Piglas Kababaihan 
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM - Workers' Party) 
Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants' Trade union (MTU), Korea 
Studio Xang Art for Migrant Children,Thailand 
Thai Labour Campaign (TLC), Thailand  
Think Center (Singapore) 
The Action Network for Migrants (ANM), Thailand  
The Shan Refugee Organization (SRO), Malaysia  
Task Force on ASEAN and Burma (TFAB) 
Worker Hub for Change (WH4C) 
Women Health, Philippines  
World March for Women - Philippines 

c.c.  Workers in Burma -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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