In order to share experiences from other countries and discuss regional initiatives, from 22nd to 24th August 2016, the 5th regional Asian Roundtable on Social Protection was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The conference emphasized the role of the Government in ensuring Social Security and calling for regional initiatives about social protectionfor workers.
Although Asia is the area which has rapid economic growth, inequality is still increasing and poverty still exists in the region. The poverty rate decreases slowly, unemployment rate and unstable employment is increasing and million workers are living in poverty. The most disadvantaged people are vulnerable groups including workers working ininformal area, female workers and migrant workers.
Meanwhile social protection means all people, especially the disadvantaged are guaranteed a life with basic needs, some countries in Asia are gradually reducing their role in ensuring the welfare of the people. It is expressed in different ways, such as significantly cutting the state budget for social protection and privatizing public services. Even in their own social protection programs, the Government’s role is limited. For example, most of social insurance programs base on the contribution of employers and employees. Informal workers and those without stable income have to pay the entire cost. The Government only manages funds and pays pensions. When the workers call for increasing pension, the Government copes with difficulties due to lack of resource.
In this context, from 22nd to 28th August 2016, the 5th regional Asian Roundtable on Social Protection (AROSP) Conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in order to discuss the role of the Government in ensuring social protection, successful initiatives at grassroots level and experience from countries in the region as well as action plans for the future.
Over 70 participants from trade union organizations, research units, social organizations and workers in 13 countries and territories in the region (including Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Indonesia, Phillipines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Hongkong and China) attended the conference. In 3 working days, the participants discussed issues related to social protectionin the context of each country and territory, labor trends in the near future, the role of the Government as well as private areas, difficulties of disadvantaged labor groups, budget and financial mobilization for social security as well as solutions for the raised issues. The representatives of CDI, Oxfam Vietnam and LIGHT Institute for Development & Community Health gave a general introduction of the social protection system of Vietnam and shared experiences in the process of supporting workers and advocacy. In addition, participants also conducted in-depth discussion sessions to define priority issues and make action plan for each specific area including the ASEAN Community, areas of South Asia and East Asia.
At the end of the conference, participants all agreed that Asian countries need to direct a complete social protectionsystem, which not only ensures the benefits of payers – beneficiaries but also ensures the social welfare in generally, especially for vulnerable groups, and promotes the social development. It could not be achievable without a people-centered strategy for long-term economic development, which is built on the basis of active participation from the grassroots level. Social protection programs must be implemented with the approach based on human rights. The mobilization as well as budget and national resources allocation need to ensure the transparency and accountability, make sure to meet the needs of the people. Representatives of organizations also committed to continue promoting activities from the community, capacity building for workers and related organizations, uniting and supporting workers at national and regional level, aiming to more effective campaigns and advocacy.
From 04 to 08, June 2016, representatives of the Center for Development and Integration (CDI) attended the training workshop on Advocacy in ASEAN organized by The Mekong Migration Network (MMN) in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 5-day training course was attended by 17 delegates, representing non-governmental organizations, research units from 4 countries in the Mekong region, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The attendants from Vietnam consisted of 2 representatives from CDI and 2 representatives from the Center for Research Management and Sustainable Development (MSD) and the Faculty of Law, National University of Hanoi. The training also welcomed the participation of experts from many different organizations, including 4 teachers and 6 speakers who are activists, journalists, researchers and leaders of a number of international organizations with extensive experience participating in the process of advocacy in ASEAN.
The goal of the training is to provide basic knowledge and information for organizations involved in the process of advocacy and building actions at regional level. The training course has provided useful information on the structure and institutions of ASEAN and the process of making decisions and influencing factors in these decisions to a great extent. The course also helped participants improve skills related to policy analysis and advocacy, presenting the message and campaign planning.
The representatives of CDI actively participated in the discussions and presentations in the training. CDI will also continue the discussions with other civil society organizations in Vietnam to contribute to the joint action plan in the process of advocacy at ASEAN level. Thereby, the workers support programmes that CDI is implementing will be expanded, contributing to the promotion for the rights of migrant workers both at national and regional level.
More reading: News about the workshop on MMN website: http://www.mekongmigration.org/?p=5030
Following the photo stories on the lives of migrant workers by CDI and the authors: Do Manh Cuong, Dinh Duc Hoang, Nguyen Thi Thu Lanh, with the support of Oxfam, we are pleased to introduce the 2nd story, the story of a family fishing and selling pottery along the streets living in a boarding hamlet by the Red river - "The boat stuck in a billabong".
Click here to view and download the story "The boat stuck in a billabong" ("Thuyen trong vung can"):
Thuyen trong vung can_phan 1
Thuyen trong vung can_phan 2
Updated information and free consultancy to workers: www.laodongxanha.net
In recent years, Viet Nam has taken significant steps in economic and social development and has step by step integrated into the regional and global economy. However, in the time of rapid change, Vietnam is facing a number of remarkable challenges including ensuring the enforcement of labour rights which helps maintain the sustainable development of the national economy, society and environment of the country.
The unstable and unsustainable development of the economy and the consequences of industrialization and modernization process cause the increase in social gap and multi-dimensional poverty, the imbalance in migration and difficulties in implementing social protection policies of migrant workers.
In the evening of 20 December 2015, at Nam Sach industrial park, Hai Duong province, the Center for Development and Integration (CDI) in collaboration with the Confederation of Labor of Hai Duong province organized the contest "Golden Bell 2015". This is an annual program of the project "Social and economic inclusion of women in industrial zones and suburban areas in Vietnam" with the participation of workers’ groups in the framework of the project and some local associations such as the Women's Union. The jury consists of representatives of CDI, the Labour Confederation of Hai Duong and the People’s Committee of Nam Sach commune. The contest was organized with the aim of creating a playground for the workers, while enhancing workers' knowledge about labor rights and develop the connection between workers and the locals.
[Hanoi] From 4th to 5th September 2015, the meeting of the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) meeting will be held and is jointly organized by the Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC ) Hong Kong and Center for Development Initiative (CDI), Vietnam. The meeting will be attended by more than 100 delegates from 20 countries around the world including delegates from Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. The delegates will include representatives of health and safety organizations, labour organizations, environmental organizations, academics and scientists from various Universities, policymakers from Vietnam, representatives of International organizations like the ILO and the WHO and representatives of the victims organizations.
The two-day meeting comes in the backdrop of Asia’s growth as the manufacturing hub of the world and the price paid by the workers and the communities in terms of increasing accidents and diseases caused by both the occupational and the environmental reasons. Vietnam itself is at the threshold of a major industrial revolution with increasing share in the manufacturing especially in the electronics and garments sector and thus like other Asian countries is facing problems of occupational and environmental health and safety for its workers and communities. The key issues that would be discussed in the meeting include:
1) Overall problems of Occupational and Environmental Health in Asia - considering that most of the countries do not have proper data regarding the impact on workers and community health (in terms of accidents and diseases at work). The ILO and WHO estimates about 1 million people die due to work related reasons in Asia and millions more get injured and sick. Toll due to environmental pollution is much higher.
2) Major Accident/disasters in Asia in recent years: The meeting will discuss the recent spate of accidents ranging from Tianjin explosion in China, Kentex shoe fire in Philippines, Factory Fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan among others. Some victims/survivors from these tragedies (from Philippines, India) will share their experiences. Why accidents are increasing would be discussed and analyzed by various experts from across the world.
3) Occupational and Environmental Diseases in Asia: The meeting will discuss the increasing occupational diseases in Asia ranging from dust related lung diseases, cancers due to exposure to chemicals in various industries including electronics and asbestos manufacturing and benzene related cancers. Victims / activists from the ground will share their experiences of exposure and disease and their struggle for justice. Experts and scientists will share their findings on reasons for increase in occupational and environmental diseases in Asia and possible ways to deal with it.
4) Building Cross border collaboration to effectively eliminate or reduce occupational and environmental diseases: Participants (both grassroots victims and scientists) will share the best practices in terms of how the problem was dealt in different countries under different scenarios and meeting is expected to provide a platform for cross border sharing and developing joint strategy towards making Asia a safer and healthy place
This is a unique gathering of grassroots organizers, policy makers, NGO experts and academics from many prestigious universities and would be a good opportunity to talk to them on issues that confront Vietnam also including prevention of Occupational accidents, occupational and environmental diseases and lastly but not the least efforts to eliminate dangerous chemicals and processes from Asia and Vietnam including Benzene, Asbestos among others.
From 20th to 21st June 2015 in Hanoi and 27th to 28th June 2015 in Ho Chi Minh, the photo exhibition "Migrant workers: My life - My story" was held organized by the Centre for Development and Integration (CDI), with the sponsorship of The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the Office of Labor Rights of the US Department of State.
In the trend of industrialization and globalization boost, the number of migrant workers has also increased. Habitat change makes them face many problems and risks in life. On the other hand, due to inadequate awareness and knowledge, they are very vulnerable to the risk of affecting the interests and security of assets and even their own life, leading to a negative impact on the economy - both in sending and receiving towns. To build the sharing space for migrant workers, the Centre for Development and Integration (CDI), with the sponsorship of the Asia Foundation and the Office of Labor Rights US State Department held a contest "Photo and life of migrant workers" on the site www.laodongxanha.net. Through a period of 6 months, the competition has attracted many workers involved in the photo contest with a total of 540 photos received. The contents of photos showing different colours and the story of the workers away from home in all parts of the country.
With the desire to reflect the multi-dimensional view of life and the problems of migrant workers, the organization board has selected meaningful photos and organized the exhibition "Migrants workers: my life - my story". Through images and stories sent by workers, the exhibition will help to connect migrant workers to come closer to the public and policy makers.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition was held in Hanoi in the morning of 20th June 2015 at the Vietnamese Women's Museum with the participation of guests from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the General Confederation of Labour Vietnam, the Labour Confederation of Hanoi and some other provinces, representatives of state agencies involved and represent workers. The opening ceremony of the exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City was held at the Cultural Palace of Labour on 27th June 2015. Organizers of the exhibition has received positive response and was attended by representatives from press agencies, the media, social organizations promoting the rights of workers, lawyers, consultants for labor law, staff and students of universities, colleges and people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Please visit the website www.laodongxanha.net for more information on the contest and exhibition.
On 12 and 13 May 01 2015, CDI collaborated with the Women's Union of Cao Bang province to organize 3 widespread propaganda sessions in the form of performances in three communes Ngoc Con, Ngoc Khue, Dinh Phong of Cao Bang province within the framework of the project "Legal aid for risk groups and trafficked victims in the border district of Trung Khanh, Cao Bang".
Attending propaganda sessions were delegates representing different levels and departments under Cao Bang province and Trung Khanh district such as the People's Committee, the Women's Union, Border army, Justice office, Police office; and more than 400 local people.
Especially, the propaganda session in Ngoc Con commune, Trung Khanh district was honor to welcome the participation of HE. David Devine - Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam. During this visit, he joined CDI and Representatives of The People’s Committee of Cao Bang province to attend the launch the legal bookcase and the large scale propaganda session in Ngoc Con commune, as well as visiting a border post and famous landscapes in Cao Bang such as Ban Gioc waterfall, Phuc Sen wrought village.
In December 2014, a range of activities at the local was implemented in the framework of the project “Legal assistance for the vulnerable and victims of human trafficking in Trung Khanh border district of Cao Bang province” funded by the Canada Fund for local initiatives.
The project’s goal is to enhance legal enforcement capacity, prevent activities of human trafficking and provide access to legal information for the vulnerable objects of being trafficked (women, children, ethnic minorities) in the communes of Trung Khanh district, Cao Bang province. The project also aims to help the returned victims of trafficking quickly re-integrate into the community.
On December 3rd, the project inception workshop with the participation of public management officers, executives at all levels of Cao Bang provine and Trung Khanh district. Also on December 3rd and 4th, CDI staffs organized the training aboutknowledge and skills on protection andpreventionof human trafficking for the subjects who are the local officialsof Trung Khanh border district of Cao Bang province. On 2 days after, December 5th and 6th , CDI reorganized the training about relevant laws, measures, policies to prevent and protect vulnerable groups and victims of human trafficking across the Trung Khanh border district of Cao Bang province.
From 2011 to 2014, CDI with the support from Oxfam Novib and Oxfam Solidariteit commenced a new project for migrant workers in industrial areas of four provinces in the north of Vietnam - Hanoi, Hai Duong, Bac Ninh and Vinh Phuc.