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CARAM eNews July 2008
International Migrants Alliance Born

The founding assembly of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), a global alliance of migrants, refugees, and displaced people, was held in Hong Kong from 15th to 16th June.  The assembly developed a global united voice and a set of actions for grassroots migrants, refugees, and displaced people to protect and promote their rights and well-being. 118 participating migrant associations, NGOs, and trade unions from 25 countries from all over the world attended the IMA.

CARAM Asia provided input on the health rights of migrants under the theme of the social cost of migration during the IMA. The International Coordination Body was formed through representation of migrant associations, regional representatives, and two representatives of the non-voting members of associates. The ICB is the highest policies making body. Tenaganita, a CARAM Asia member, was elected to the ICB.

Read about CARAM Asia’s presentation and the keynote address by the Chairperson of CARAM Asia.
Lifting Travel Restrictions on PLHIV at the UN High Level Meeting
(UN Photo/ Evan Schneider)

The United Nations General Assembly held a high-level meeting on the comprehensive progress achieved in realizing the Declaration Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on AIDS on 10th and 11th June, 2008.  A CARAM Asia programme officer, Suksma Ratri, representing people living with HIV in Asia Pacific, spoke at the opening plenary. She urged the members States to be accountable for their commitments to the HIV cause.

One key outcome from CARAM Asia’s and other civil society’s successful intervention is the call for banning travel restrictions for people living with HIV (PLHIV) by the Secretary General during his speech. Travel restrictions for PLHIV were also a key discussion during other sessions. Watch or read about the speeches here
Feeding into SAARC HIV Strategy

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) sub regional offices in South Asia organised a three day workshop on leadership and development challenges in migration and HIV in South Asia. It took place in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 23rd to 25th of June 2008. Government representatives from all SAARC countries, mainly from the labour and health ministries, international agencies, and the CARAM Asia secretariat, together with members from South Asia, participated in this high level meeting.

This workshop is a follow up to the SAARC Regional Strategy on HIV and AIDS (2006 – 2010) which was formulated during the 12th SAARC Summit in 2004. In order to move the process along, the UNDP had commissioned research and a desk review of mobility and HIV in all SAARC countries except for Afghanistan. CARAM Asia was selected to lead a 7-country secondary research in order to provide a baseline study with standardised information on laws, policies, and migration flows related to HIV and migration. During the workshop, each CARAM Asia focal point country member gave a presentation on the research findings.

Strengthening ASEAN’s Commitment to Migrants

CARAM Asia fed input into the discussion at the 7th Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism on Human Rights held in Singapore on 12th to 13th June, 2008. The Workshop was co-hosted by the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (“Working Group”) and an ad hoc organising committee from Singapore (the “Singapore Organising Committee”) with its secretariat as the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (“SIIA”).

The workshop concluded that there is a need for follow up efforts to the ASEAN Migrant Workers Declaration, including consideration of a binding legal instrument on the rights of migrant workers. In particular, it is important for civil society to help the ASEAN Secretariat implement the Migrant Worker Declaration pending the possible concretization of a binding instrument. The Workshop further recommends that the Commission should be provided with an ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of Migrant Workers (the “Migrant Workers Instrument”). Read the full report

Empowering Positive Migrants with Skills
CARAM Asia's Task force on the Empowerment of Migrants Living with HIV and their Spouses(TFEM) conducted a skills building workshop on Advocacy and Communication in Bangkok. The workshop held from 27 to 29 June had lively participation from Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand (Phanga and Mae Sod) delegates. Read... 
ICASO UNGASS Review Report

This global report by the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) is a summary report of a review on progress on the implementation of the 2001 Declaration of Commitment (DoC) on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. The report is based on reviews by the community sector, nationally in Bolivia, Indonesia, Russia, and Senegal, and regionally in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The community sector review has highlighted the urgent need to increase support for community sector involvement in the DoC reporting and monitoring. It also highlights the continued lack of progress, with the need to rapidly scale up responses and to ensure the protection of human rights, if the commitment to universal access by 2010 is to be achieved. Read

Amnesty International's Report 2008
Amnesty International's Report 2008 shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries, and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries.Amnesty International’s annual global assessment of human rights, published in the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, covers 150 countries. The report highlights the following trends:

    * Targeting of civilians by armed groups and government forces with impunity;

    * Pervasive violence against women;

    * Promotion of torture and ill-treatment as acceptable modes of intelligence gathering;

    * Suppression of dissent and attacks on journalists and activists;

    * Lack of protection for refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants;

    * Denial of economic and social rights; and

    * Evasion of corporate accountability for human rights abuses.