Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia has strong start in its first year
In the first year of Ship to Shore Rights South-East Asia, new outbreaks of continue to disrupt labour mobility in the fishing and seafood processing sectors. Strict lockdown measures in the region’s main destination countries, including Thailand, have led to tremendous loss of income and employment for migrants as they have often been the first to lose their jobs. In addition, data shows that hundreds of thousands of migrants have returned home within the region. For migrants who remain in destination countries, they have often been excluded from COVID-19 policy responses and in some cases faced discriminatory treatment under disease control measures.
An additional challenge was the military coup d’état in Myanmar on 1 February 2021 which – coupled with COVID-19 – impacted the livelihoods of migrant workers and their families substantially. Myanmar remains caught in a severe economic downturn, which is likely to lead to increased poverty, food insecurity and crisis migration.
To respond to these changing circumstances, the programme prioritized responses to migrant workers’ needs during the pandemic with immediate relief assistance while having to readjust previously agreed implementation workplans. In Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Myanmar, the programme provided resources to ensure that return migrant workers and migrant workers affected by quarantines and lockdowns are supported. In addition, in Myanmar, strategic re-programming was conducted for ILO, IOM and UNDP to direct resources away from the de facto authorities. The programme will continue provide support for the organizational resilience of CSOs and trade unions to provide safe migration information and service during these difficult times.