Thursday, October 10, 2013

Returning migrant workers endure complicated journey

On 8 October, 175 Myanmar laborers returned from Malaysia, benefiting from the largesse of Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and the Sitagu Sasana Social Aid Group led by Sitagu Syadaw U Nyarneikthara. Yet for some of these workers their trip home is not yet over.

Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, where the workers had allegedly been assured that they would be transported directly to their homes, their sponsors failed to follow through on their promise. As a result, many of the workers were left stranded at the airport.

When contacted in regard to this situation,Sitagu Sasana Social Aid Group replied, “We took responsibility for [the workers] until they reached Yangon. We said nothing more than that to them.”

One of the returning laborers, Aung Myo, commented, “[Prior to coming home] we were arrested [in Malaysia] and spent eight months in a refugee camp. We had to stay about five months after deducting remission. We were informed that we would be taken back to our homes and now the arrangement has been changed.”

Of the 175 workers on the MAI flight, forty-six have yet to get in touch with family members.

In the meantime, 88-Generation Peace and Open Society collected the marooned laborers and pledged to look after them while they remain in Yangon.

Mar Mar Oo from 88-Generation Peace affirmed, “We will take care [of the workers] for tonight and then we will present their cases to [the responsible authorities]. We have already informed the director general [of the Labor Department] about their situation and difficulties.”

The Ministry of Laborhas also provided each worker with 5,000 kyats(approx. US$5) in assistance.