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In COVID-19, The ‘We’ Needs to Include Migrant Workers

COVID-19 may have forced Singapore and Malaysia to address the appalling living conditions of migrant workers they host. But larger and wider problems such as the lack of social protection, as well as discrimination that has become worse during the pandemic, persist.

เอเชียอาคเนย์สู้โควิด: คำว่า “พวกเรา” ต้องรวมถึงแรงงานข้ามชาติด้วย

สถานการณ์โควิด-19 ทำให้สิงคโปร์และมาเลเซียจำต้องหันมาดูแลสภาพความเป็นอยู่ที่น่าอนาถของแรงงานข้ามชาติในประเทศ แต่ปัญหาที่ใหญ่และหนักกว่านั้นก็ยังคงอยู่ เช่นไม่มีการปกป้องทางสังคม และมีการกีดกันเพิ่มขึ้นในช่วงโรคระบาดนี้

สัมภาษณ์ แรงงานอพยพในอาเซียน: โควิด-19 ทำให้เราเหลือศูนย์

แรงงานอพยพถูกมองอย่างไม่เป็นมิตรอีกครั้งหลังเกิดวิกฤติโควิด-19 ซึ่งทำให้เกิดคำถามที่ว่า การรณรงค์นานหลายสิบปีให้คนเข้าใจชีวิตและบทบาทของผู้ใช้แรงงานกลุ่มนี้ ไม่ได้ช่วยอะไรเลยเหรอ?

MAP: Filipino Voices in the time of COVID-19

Click on the location points in this map to read thoughts from Filipinos, probably the world’s most globalized nations with over 10 million people overseas. Their thoughts provide a good lens through which to see how different, yet the same, our situations are during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Disrupts the Philippines’ Migration Story

The Philippines, the world’s top exporter of labour, is seeing group after group of overseas workers return after losing their jobs in the wake of the economic shock dealt by the COVID-19 crisis. The country has never seen anything like this in its 50 years of experience in labour exports. How will the pandemic change migration? Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN reports in this Q&A chat.

THAILAND: Could A ‘Cleaner’ Fishing Industry Set New Norms?

Cleaning up atrocious labor practices in Thailand’s commercial fishing industry won’t happen overnight, even as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report documents both progress and persistent problems. But experts say reforms may well lead to new norms that other countries in Southeast Asia and beyond would be pressed to follow, reports Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

Vietnamese Youngsters in Laos: Home Alone

Poor economic conditions at home and easy border crossings have meant that many Vietnamese are venturing to neighbouring countries like Laos and Malaysia for employment opportunities. Phuong Anh of Red Scarf magazine looks at the social cost of migration for work and the impact on the children of such migrants in this Reporting ASEAN story.

Asean Struggles To Protect Labourers

The ASEAN Community’s interest in unskilled labourers remains poor, despite the fact that this group provides the real workforce that dominates labour flows around the region. Wasamon Audjarint of The Nation looks at the reasons behind the reluctance to protect these migrant workers.

Reintegration: the Forgotten Side of Migration in ASEAN

The reintegration of Southeast Asia’s migrant workers is as important as their departure and the remittances they send home to labour-exporting countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. But as Tess Bacalla explains in this piece for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, ASEAN is unlikely to focus on reintegration when it is averse to addressing the issue of unskilled workers in the region in the first place.

Protecting the Marginalised

There are concerns that only one percent of Southeast Asia’s workforce will benefit from the ASEAN Economic Community’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), leaving more than 9.5 million migrant workers in the region bereft. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine takes a look at what it will take for the rights of these workers to be protected.

Healthcare Within Borders

Indonesian doctors are undecided if the freer movement of skilled medical practitioners across Southeast Asia, as part of the ASEAN Economic Community’s plans, will be a bane or boon for them and their patients. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine looks at the possible impact on the country’s healthcare system in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Including Low-skilled Workers into ASEAN’s Labour Framework

Intra-ASEAN labour migration has increased fourfold since 1990 to 6.5 million in 2013. The majority consists of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, but they are little seen in ASEAN’s integration plans. What safeguards have ASEAN put in place to protect them? Not much, as Saifulbahri Ismail of Channel NewsAsia finds out in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

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