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CARAM eNews - March 2008
Engaging GFMD Processes
The first Asian consultation on the Second Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) was held on 4 February in Bangkok, Thailand. It was held during the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) Working Group on Migration and Labour (WGML) meeting, which CARAM Asia is a member.

CARAM Asia was represented by a group of eight persons from diverse regions and organisations in the network. They are from the secretariat, Raks Thai, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Development Action for Women Network (DAWN), Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) Foundation, Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA), CARAM Cambodia and St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre.

During the meeting, the SAPA WGML outlined a plan of action to engage with the Second GFMD, including preparing a position paper on migration and labour. The paper is expected to contain analysis of the first GFMD, principles and a framework to assert the human rights of migrants. This paper will serve as a reference for national consultations before the forum.

Participants at the meeting acknowledged the importance to broaden participation, including migrants participation and get consensus at national level processes. The SAPA WGML will organise national consultations on GFMD in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and beyond. They will also encourage other networks and organisations to organise or strengthen consultations in other countries and regions. Read

Sharpening Advocacy Skills
Advocacy is what CARAM Asia does essentially. Nevertheless, it is always good to enhance the network’s advocacy skills. With that in mind, the network kicked off its first workshop for the year by organising the “CARAM Asia Regional Advocacy Capacity Building Workshop” from 14 to 16 Feb, 2008 in Port Dickson, Malaysia.

One of the key outcomes of the workshop is the development of the network’s regional advocacy objective. About 30 partners and secretariat staffs enthusiastically adopted the framework on advocacy given. The workshop was practical with interactive activities and role play sessions. Participants garnered practical techniques, advocacy tools and tips on messaging and lobbying skills. They were not only empowered with the skills but also nurtured new enthusiasm from the advocacy planning exercises done.

Advocacy framework and tools developed from the workshop will be available on our website next month.

Soh Hong Kong Report Launched
St John's Cathedral HIV Education Centre launched the State of Health of Migrants(SoH) 2007: Mandatory Testing (Hong Kong Report) on 26 January. It disseminated the report to eight universities, legislative council members, NGOs and AIDS related organisations. The next day, it raised awareness on the topic with a forum. Nearly one hundred people attended the forum to discuss problems related to mandatory testing and to share related cases.

Click here for the press release of the launch, forum & the SOH Hong Kong report.

Read  testimonies by migrant workers in Hong Kong relating to mandatory testing.


ASEAN Sec Gen Meet Civil Society
The newly-appointed Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Surin Pitsuwan met with representatives of the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) Working Group on ASEAN (WG on ASEAN) in Bangkok, on 4 February 2008.

It is a notable departure from his predecessors who were rarely accessible to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). CARAM Asia participated in this 30 minute dialogue and raised concerns relating to migrant workers. Read

FDW Rights Voiced in Abu Dhabi
CARAM Asia’s Statement for the Protection of Rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) was officially accepted at the Gulf Forum On Temporary Contractual Labor from 23 to 24 Jan 2008. The protection of FDW’s rights was recognised as important by participants of the first ever consultation between Asian countries importing and exporting labour to Gulf states. The network was represented by Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA). Read
Click here for the statement.
Reaffirming Solidarity with Asian CSOs
CARAM Asia attended the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocay Second General Forum (SAPA) held in Bangkok from 2 to 3 February. The meeting aimed to develop new strategies to embrace arising human rights challenges in Asia.

CARAM Asia is its focal point for the Migration and Health theme and also a member of the Working Group on Migration and Labour. More than 100 CSOs - national and regional - are members of SAPA. The forum was attended by about 70 members and partners. Read


From Alma Ata to Global Fund
This paper traces the evolution of international health policies and international health institutions, starting from the birth of the World Health Organization, the setting up of the Health for All target at the Alma Ata conference in 1978 and the rise of neo-liberal policies promoted by international financial institutions from 1980 to the present. The paper looks at different issues surrounding public-private partnerships and the setting up of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the influence of these institutions on the health systems in poor countries. Read
Agonies of Special Economic Zones
Special Economic Zones or SEZs are taking centre-stage in the debate concerning development in Asia today. These SEZs in Asia and elsewhere serve international as well as domestic markets with a focus on exports. Other economic zones with a similar nature include Export Processing Zones (EPZs), Free Trade Zones (FTZs), Special Industrial Belts, etc. Despite the existence of different types of economic zones, the SEZ is emerging as the most dominant model in Asia in the 21st century.
This paper aims to highlight the impact of SEZs and similar zones on the livelihoods of common people in Asia, an aspect which has received little attention in SEZ-related literature so far. Economic growth, as demonstrated in rising Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is not necessarily the same as economic development nor does it always mean an improvement in the well being of the majority of the people in a country. Read the book