Deportation of Cambodian Workers Should Be Condemned

The inhumane deportation of close to 200,000′Cambodian workers from Thailand, in the past few days shows the true picture of the so called economic growth in Cambodia and the failure of poverty reduction strategy.

Yes, the forced return must be condemned as it is done without consideration of the human rights of the Cambodian workers. The fear, the threat, the brutality and degrading way our people have been treated by the Thai authorities can not be tolerated. Repatriation yes, but it should be with right-based approach and alternatives for humane and dignified treatment must be negotiated with the Cambodian authorities and NGOs.

Al Jazeera report

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However, the forced return should be a weak-up call to Mr. Hun Sen and to donor countries that economic growth has created further inequalities and inequity. From being vulnerable to economic injustice at home, our farmers and their families and our youths
are now accused of creating possible political instability for the Thais and are subject to all forms of abuse and even facing death.

Close to 500,000 Cambodians are estimated to be working with or without papers in Thailand.

What is next from this lesson learned:

Immediate action:

. Follow ups at commune and district level for the welfare of the returnees, in particular those most at risk;
. Immediate action to stop deportation but agreement for humane return of our workers and their families.

Mid-term action:

. Social land concessions for the landless;
. Reduced interest rate for micro-credit schemes to keep our farmers at home;
. Up grade skills for employment of youth;
. Address issue of minimum wage;
. Engage youth in developing employment and migration policies.
. MOU with neighboring countries for protection of migrant workers and their families to be inclusive and transparent.

Long-term action

.increase national budget for education and skills training and health care to at least 40% ;
. Preparing youth for skilled labor;
. Gender sensitive employment policy and social,protection.

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