Empowering Migrants against HIV/AIDS

Asia is in the throes of economic growth and globalisation. Due to the economic factors involved, a vast number of people are crossing borders to seek employment. Of course this increasing amount of people gives rise to a unique community, the migrant community, who due to vulnerabilities such as culture shock, lack of support networks and of course the need for money, places them in particular situations of HIV susceptibility.

Although you don't often see the needs of migrants being placed high on the world's agendas, even though the population of mobile people is growing, The Co-ordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility in Asia (CARAM Asia) spent approximately two years researching, collating information, studying case studies and analyzing "success" projects developing a manual, which has been launched at the International AIDS Conference 2002.

The manual looks at the different stages in the process of migration, pre-departure, post-arrival and re-integration for migrant workers. It consists of various case studies from Asia, and tackles the issues that migrant workers often face. Instead of just painting a gloomy picture, though, the manual examines ways in which improvements can be made to policies and services focused on migrants.

With such a multi-faceted issue, the manual has attempted to include comprehensive sections on the three afore mentioned stages of migration and other issues such as gender have also been addressed in the book.

While the manual has been designed and developed based on research and studies from an Asian context, the thoughts, ideas and suggestions can also be applicable elsewhere around the globe and in varied situations, not just with the mobile people who seek employment elsewhere.

For instance, refugees who seek asylum in other countries due to war or human rights abuses are also a specific group of mobile people that needs to be addressed and given access to information and services like the other migrants. And because most of these refugees reside in a host country for a significant amount of time, they too are another form of migrant and the manual can help provide a framework in ways in which to empower the people.

The manual is not so tightly specific; rather it is a more generic tool and in its flexibility can be adapted to other situations in different areas of the world. It is the hope of the publishers that this manual will provide a framework in which the various stakeholders will have a tool that they can work with to empower the migrant worker.

CARAM Asia hopes to continue the advocacy and lobbying in the diverse regions by providing means of networking and advocacy as well as possibly organizing training sessions on how the manual can effectively be put to use.

The manual is a result of combined efforts to work on responding to a complex and vulnerable group of people, who are the migrants, generally to improve the quality of their lives.

Key Correspondent  Health & Development Networks


Do You Condone the Murderous Practices of the European Union?

Today, the European Union continues to deport migrants living with HIV/AIDS. The repression system against migrants, that North Countries are mking stronger every day, is forcing thousands of people to a clandestine life -- no stay permits, no rights, no resources and under the permanent threat of being deported. This system deprives them of access to care, stops prevention messages from reaching them and exposes them to infection.

the 15 member States of the European Union have decided to harmonise their immigration laws by 2004. Their announcement, right before the Seville summit, of a whole arsenal of war measures to start a "witch hunt" against migrants, suggest the worst about the upcoming laws.







Tomorrow, European-Union is supposed to elaborate a global agreement about immigration and asylum issues. Act Up-Paris denounces the priority E.U. attaches to the only objectives of "security" and "immigration control", whereas it is supposed to guarantee foreigners, among others those who are affected by serious pathologies, the elementary rights.

Within European Union, only one country (France) has adopted laws in order to protect affected foreigners from expulsion and to permit them to stay and access to cares - articles 25-8 and 12bis-11 in the edict of 2/11/45. And yet, even in France, this elementary right is thrown back into question by the non respect of these laws as several recent affairs show it.

If an "harmonisation" of the laws has to be settled, then European-Union must do it notably by assuring affected foreigners the unconditional inexpulsion and the right to stay in Europe as in France.

At the same time, European-Union must accelerate the grant of compulsory licences and the parallel importations and must help the access to generic drugs in countries which need it. European-Union has the power to do it. They doesn't do it.

Consequently, we won't let Aznar, Blair, Raffarin or others despise affected people by hiding away in a miserly protectionism, fed by the amalgame between insecurity and immigration.

Height of the protectionism : we learn today that Spain refuses to grant visas to several participants from "developping countries" who are supposed to come to the XIVth International Aids Conference in Barcelona. A really nice way for Spain to end its 6 months presidence of E.U.



ACT UP/Paris


It should also be noted:

Tuesday, 9 April, 2002
Burmese migrants face HIV test by Thailand Government
by Larry Jagan
BBC's Burma analyst in Rangoon

Burma and Thailand have agreed on a plan to repatriate more than 500,000 Burmese illegal immigrants currently resident in Thailand.As part of the deal, Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai told the BBC, the Burmese workers will be screened for HIV. Those testing positive will be separated from the other workers being repatriated.

The agreement was reached in a bilateral meeting between the two countries in Rangoon, when both countries were attending a tripartite summit with India.

This is part of the Thai Government's efforts under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to improve relations with Burma.Thailand has been anxious to get Rangoon to agree to take back more than 500,000 illegal Burmese believed to be living in Thailand.To achieve this, the Thai Government has bent over backwards to accommodate Rangoon.

Engagement policy

Now the policy of renewed engagement is producing results, Mr Surakiart said.
The two countries have now ironed out most of the obstacles which had prevented the repatriation scheme from starting.

The Burmese Government asked Thailand to screen all returning refugees for HIV/AIDS and Thailand agreed.

This is likely to anger many human rights groups, who have already accused the Thai Government of violating the workers' human rights by insisting on a medical examination before they are registered or re-registered.

Workers separated

Mr Surakiart said those workers who were diagnosed as HIV positive would be separated from the other illegal immigrants and would be treated as part of a special repatriation scheme.

The modalities of the illegal workers' return are still being worked out and should be completed when the joint task force meets again in the next few weeks. Mr Surakiart confidently predicted the return of the refugees later this month. However, other Thai Government officials admit this is an optimistic estimate and that even if the repatriation scheme starts this month, it will take months rather than weeks before any appreciable number of workers return to Burma.



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