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June 2008
Let Positive People Lead HIV Response
CARAM Asia was invited to speak at an ASEAN regional consultation in Vientiane, Lao PDR from 7 to 9 May. The regional consultation is about “Project Development for Finalizing the Regional Proposal and Plan of Action for Greater Involvement and Empowerment of People Living with HIV”.

This meeting was attended by the ASEAN Task Force on AIDS (ATFOA) focal points from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Burma. Representatives from APN+, UNDP, Raks Thai Foundation and Third World Network also presented. A key output from the workshop is a Statement of Commitment. Migration, migrant and mobile populations were highlighted during this meeting and was reflected in a special section in the statement. This is significant as the statement will be finalised and brought to the ASEAN countries to be discussed at national levels. The ASEAN secretariat had committed to monitor the implementation of the statement at the national level

Gender Lens on ASEAN Migrant Declaration
CARAM Asia joined the civil society consultation entitled “Gender Perspectives on the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers”. The consultation was convened on 22 and 23 May, 2008 in Bangkok with the support of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation in Human Development (SEARCH) and the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers. CARAM Asia members, namely Tenaganita, Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (H.O.M.E.), CARAM Cambodia and Migrant Assistance Program(MAP) participated the consultation together with government officials. A key output from the consultation is a statement drafted together by over fifty participants from ASEAN countries. The statement is sent to the ASEAN Secretary General. Read the statement here...
Global AIDS Week of Actions
CARAM Asia joined global calls for governments to honour their commitments to fight HIV during the Global AIDS Week of Actions (GAWA) by issuing an open letter to governments in Asia. Click here for CARAM Asia’s letter
The Global AIDS Week of Action from 18 to 24 May is an opportunity for activists around the world to stand together, generate political pressure and demand action from governments. During the GAWA week, activists organised actions in over 30 countries. Keep track of what happened around the globe here...

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, SHISUK, a member of the network also organised a meeting to share experiences and perspective on related HIV-AIDS issues. The meeting targeting the media and other stakeholders was held on 24 May 2008 at the Dhaka Reporters Unity in Bangladesh. The presentations include a video documentary on people living with HIV, depicting the prevailing HIV-AIDS situation in Bangladesh. There was also comparison drawn between the country coordination mechanism of Bangladesh and the Philippines. Civil society groups also responded to the Bangladesh Progress Report to UNGASS 2008.

Refugees: Malaysia My Refuge
As public sympathy towards Burma’s cyclone victims grew, it was very timely to garner public attention to the issue of detention and deportation of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. This is especially since Burmese refugees constitute the majority. CARAM Asia as a member to the Malaysian network of over twenty organisations, namely the Migration Working Group (MWG) started the ball rolling for the MWG’s campaign for refugees and asylum seekers to be recognised. A lobbying session coupled with a press conference was initiated on 22 May 2008 at the Malaysian Parliament.

The initiative is part of the MWG’s “Right to Redress” campaign for migrant workers, stateless person, refugees and asylum seekers. In order for refugees to get their right to redress, first, they need to be distinguished from undocumented migrant workers. Without the Malaysian government’s recognition of their status, they are in danger of being trafficked in the deportation process. MWG capitalised on the opportunity by getting support from the opposition party leader together with a few prominent parliamentarians to champion the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the Parliament.

Rights to Mobility with Dignity
The first Bangladesh National Conference on Migration and Trafficking was held on 20 March, 2008 in Dhaka. The theme of the conference is “Rights to Mobility with Dignity”. It aimed to create an opportunity to share experience and identify the needs of the organisations working on migration and trafficking at every level in Bangladesh to foster collaboration and chart out means of effective intervention. It was organised by National Action Form (NAF), the national core group of South Asia Regional initiative for Equity and Justice (SARI/EJ). SHISUK, a CARAM Asia member is the convener for the migration section of NAF. The conference pulled a crowd of about 100 organisations.

Assessing the Costs and Impacts of Migration Policy
The impact and costs of migration policy measures are often unknown, and performance indicators may be very rudimentary. Several studies, especially in the United States, have tried to measure the costs and benefits of immigration. However, there have been few cross-national attempts to assess how countries evaluate their migration policies and programmes and what procedures and mechanisms they use to conduct those evaluations.

This book by International Organization for Migration(IOM)  provides a range of recommendations for improving the design and implementation of evidence-based and accountable policies in the field of migration and asylum. Read...


Sex Work, Violence and HIV

This guide for programmes with sex workers discusses the challenges involved in ensuring that violence is addressed in HIV programmes, gives a detailed understanding of violence in relation to sex work and challenges some common assumptions. The guide also provides examples from real programmes that illustrate ways in which HIV and AIDS projects can help reduce the incidence of violence against sex workers and provide support to those who experience violence.

This guide is primarily for organisations implementing HIV and AIDS projects with sex workers and for organisations providing funding and technical support to these projects. It aims to help organisations understand and assess the importance of taking violence into account, and to help design and carry out activities to prevent and deal with violence against sex workers. 

It is hoped that the discussions and examples presented will help these organisations to know what questions to ask, what issues to look for, and how to make projects more effective by responding better to the needs of sex workers. Read...