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Inside CARAM Dec07
• AIDS Day: CARAM Asia Publicised Migrant's Vulnerability
• MHG: Drawing Strategic Roadmaps
• TFEM Workshop: Fresh Plans Ahead
• MSC Calls for Rights in Bilateral Agreements
Watch List Dec07
• XVII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008)
Useful Readings Dec07
• Remittances to Developing Countries
• Human Rights and HIV
• Asia-Pacific Progress in MDGs
Upcoming Events Dec07
Human Rights Day
International Migrants' Day 2007
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CARAM eNews - December 2007
AIDS Day: CARAM Asia Publicised Migrant’s Vulnerability

With thousands of events around the world marking World AIDS Day on 1 December, CARAM Asia capitalised on the opportunity to highlight our call to stop mandatory testing for migrant workers. CARAM Asia issued a press statement and Regional Coordinator, Cynthia Gabriel, was interviewed by Malaysian press. The call generated a public debate including criticism by the Malaysian Health Minister that mandatory testing was necessary to safeguard public health interests. CARAM Asia responded with a press release to the media. Read our statement on World AIDS Day and the subsequent press release .

CARAM Asia was invited to make a presentation on “Migrant Workers and HIV Vulnerability” during Malaysia’s first National AIDS Conference themed “Keep the Promise, Uniting in Action” held from 30 November to 2 December 2007. It was an important event that brought together over 800 people including policy makers, clinicians, medical practitioners, academia, activists, youth and people living with HIV and AIDS. Click here for CARAM Asia Regional Coordinator, Cynthia Gabriel’s presentation for the conference.



MHG: Drawing Strategic Roadmaps
Following the Migration, Health and Globalisation (MHG) capacity building workshop in Nepal in June, the MHG taskforce agreed to organise a follow up strategic planning workshop to push forward the CARAM Asia MHG Programme. 12 MHG Taskforce members participated in the planning workshop held on 14 to 16 November in Kuala Lumpur. 

Participants were successful in meeting workshop objectives aimed at  identifying key CARAM Asia positions related to MHG; identify opportunities, challenges, strategies, activities and indicators in line with the four MHG key focus areas and map critical spaces and platforms for CARAM Asia to push forward the MHG focus areas. Read

TFEM Workshop: Fresh Plans Ahead
CARAM Asia held a fruitful regional workshop on “GIPA (Greater Involvement of People living with HIV/AIDS) and Empowerment for Positive Migrant Workers and Spouses” from 24 to 26 October, 2007. ACHIEVE conducted the workshop that culminated new action plans for CARAM Asia’s Taskforce for Empowerment of Migrants and Spouses Living with HIV(TFEM). 

The new action plans strengthened the action plans done previously in another GIPA workshop in June. This is because this time there was more migrant workers’ participants sharing their real life experiences. The participants came from Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. 

During the workshop, participants discussed the reasons for them to migrate and reasons for the spouses supporting the migration decisions. They also shared the problems encountered in hosting country and problems occurred after they returned home. There was a role play for participants to enact these experiences; ART work for them to relay their feelings as well as a field trip to various governmental agencies & associations that provide services for migrant workers. All participants left the workshop with fresh motivations to carry forward action plans to empower other migrant workers and spouses living with HIV.

MSC Calls for Rights in Bilateral Agreements
Migrant Services Centre (MSC) made presentations during a workshop for the Sri Lankan government’s Overseas Employment Programme on 13th Nov 2007 in Colombo. During the event, MSC called for its government to ensure human rights of migrant workers to be covered in bilateral agreements. Director of MSC, David Soysa, said in his presentation that Sri Lanka’s Overseas Employment Programme has worked on the basis of temporary employment for the last 20 years. Now is the time for the government to develop long term overseas employment strategies. Read David’s presentation here.
Remittances to Developing Countries
According to the study, Sending Money Home: Worldwide Remittances to Developing Countries, in 2006 Asia was the top destination of remittances, receiving more than US$114 billion, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (US$68 billion), Eastern Europe (US$51 billion), Africa (US$39 billion) and the Near East (US$29 billion).

Taking nations individually, India received the most (US$24.5 billion), followed by Mexico (US$24.2 billion), China (US$21 billion), the Philippines (US$14.6 billion), and Russia (US$13.7 billion).

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) study, which was carried out in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), based its figures on official data from governments, banks, and money transfer operators as well as on estimates of informal flows, such as money carried home.

IFAD underscored the finding that more than one third of these remittances flow to families in rural areas, where poverty tends to be worse than in cities. Full report here

Human Rights and HIV
 At the 2006 United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, world leaders reaffirmed that “the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.” Yet, 25 years into the AIDS epidemic, this “essential element” remains the missing piece in the fight against AIDS.

Now more than ever, law and human rights should occupy the center of the global HIV/AIDS struggle. This booklet, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS: Now More than Ever published by Open Society Institute’s Law and Health Initiative, presents 10 reasons why.

Here is a revised edition of the publication.
Asia-Pacific Progress in MDGs
The Asia-Pacific region as a whole is forging ahead on many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but there is uneven progress between and within countries, with many countries falling behind Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America in certain areas, says a new report released today.

The report - "The Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007 " - states that the region is well on track and ahead of its peers in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce extreme poverty by half, attain universal education, and achieve gender parity in education by the target year 2015.

The region's greatest challenges lie in addressing the issues of child mortality, malnutrition, improving maternal health and providing safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, says the report - a joint publication by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP ), the Asian Development Bank (ADB ), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP ). The report was launched simultaneously today in Bangkok and Manila.