The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV & AIDS passed a Declaration of Commitment in 2001 and Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS in 2006 to fight against the spread of HIV. In the Declaration member countries committed to regularly submit a country report, every two year. ARAM Asia organized a capacity building workshop to enhance the understanding on UNGASS reporting mechanisms and to mobiles advocacy efforts in respective countries. After the capacity building workshop majority of members became very active in implementing the work plan developed in the workshop to meet the objectives. Following is the summary of member's engagement at national level which shows the momentum developed and successful advocacy efforts for the purpose.
Summary of Member's Engagement at National Level to Implement Planned Advocacy Strategy
Capacity Building Workshop on the UNGASS Reporting Mechanisms for CARAM Asia
Members in South Asia as well as in Southeast Asia who are members of
Migration, Health & HIV Task Force was very successful in enlightening
members on the concerned issues and ways of getting involved in reporting
process at government level and with UNAIDS team in their respective
countries. During the workshop different obstacles were identified which
need to be addressed to pursue the UNGASS reporting process for the inclusion
of migrant workers HIV issues in the report. The participants developed a
work plan comprised on advocacy activities to address the identified obstacles
and to get involved into the process.
After the workshop in Nepal on 5th and 6th December 2009, most of the members were very active in implementing advocacy activities and approaching National AIDS Control Programmes, relevant government agencies and UNAIDS in their countries to met the objectives. Members are still engaged in advocacy measures; however some of the shared country-wise details of taken actions are given below:
OKUP has approached the Programme Manager at National AIDS and STD Programme working under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh. Mr. Shakil from OKUP discussed with him the matter related to inclusion of migrant workers' HIV & AIDS issues into the report. OKUP is also in contact with concerned officers at UNAIDS in Bangladesh to advocate for the inclusion of migrant worker's issues into the National Strategic Plan and had informal discussion on UNGASS reporting matters.
Additionally OKUP has conducted a situation assessment study on HIV preventive education for labour migrants commissioned by IOM in collaboration with UNAIDS. The research results provide a substantive ground to have an advocacy meeting to promote the HIV issue of labour migrants.
Rights Jessore issued a press release on the occasion of
International Migrants' Day (18th Dec) and included related issues from joint
statement developed in the workshop for media advocacy.
SHOSTI is also in process of submitting CARAM Asia Policy Brief on Mandatory Testing and Joint Statement to high level government officials as advocacy efforts.
Cambodia, CARAM Cambodia
The resource person Dr. Kem Ley is a consultant for government of Cambodia to lead the process of writing UNGASS report for the country. While sharing his experiences he also learned about migrant's issues and included the subject into his report and shared the Cambodia UNGASS Report-NCPI with CARAM Cambodia and all other concerned members. The achievements, challenges and recommendations concerning to the rights of migrant workers and mobility were included into the report.
SP and UNIMIG
On 18th January 2010, SP and UNIMIG have joined as new members of UNGASS FORUM Indonesia. To push for the inclusion of migrant worker's issues into national UNGASS report. The CARAM member's participation has resulted in a development that migrant workers issues will be included in the UNGASS report of Indonesia.
Additionally UNGASS Forum Indonesia planed to submit a parallel report of
UNGASS-Indonesia, for that SP and UNIMIG arranged to have a meeting with the
coordinator of UNGASS Forum Indonesia
to discuss especially about migrant workers issues.
The CSO Forum decided to write a shadow report on UNGASS 2010. SP made sure the inclusion of migrant worker's issues in the shadow report which covers various concerned areas on the subject. Being member of CSO Forum, SP received invitation to attend a meeting organized by NAC to share the country report prepared by Indonesian government and get inputs on migrant worker's HIV & AIDS related issues.
SHARE identified lead CSOs in Japan working for UNGASS which include [Africa Japan Forum (AJF), Japan AIDS & Society (JAS), Japanese network of people living with HIV/AIDS (JaNP+)]. They networked with other CSOs [SHARE, CHARM, and CRIATIVOS] working on migrant rights and HIV to include migrant's HIV & AIDS related issues in UNGASS 2010 report.
CDS is flagging the concerns on migrant worker's HIV related issues to the UNGASS working group same as CARAM's concerns. Due to efforts currently there is some mention on MWs in the NCPI part B; however that is not at the larger policy level.
Thailand Raks, Thai Foundation
For the UNGASS reporting - Raks Thai Foundation is involved in the sub-committee on migrant and refugee populations on the UNGASS report. They have already submitted a "best practices" section and will submit another small section reporting on their work under the PHAMIT Project and other relevant statistics as available.
Following the discussion on Advocacy measures in the UNGASS training workshop, IHED in Vietnam carried out the first two activities:
1. Identified the lead CSOs in Vietnam on UNGASS reporting: ISDS (Institute for Social Development Studies - its website is http://www.isds.org.vn) and UNGASS civil society forum in Vietnam
(its website is
2. IHED have sent them registration form to be one of their forum's members. This will take some time, but IHED can meet all their requirements for registration, so IHED can network with them.
The Gulf is a major destination for migrant workers, particularly those from Southern Asia and South East Asia. Gulf countries are also widely known for the consistent and endemic violations perpetrated against migrant workers. When it comes to the death penalty, the number of migrants who are killed by judicial execution is grossly disproportional to the size of their populations.
Discrimination on the basis of religion, nationality and ethnicity are common human rights violations in most Gulf States. Migrants from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and numerous other countries travel to the Gulf States to work mainly in the domestic work or low-skilled labor sectors. These workers routinely experience restrictions on their freedom of expression, religion and religious practice, access to justice, access to healthcare, the withholding of passports, threats, physical, verbal or sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, as well as unsafe and unhygienic living and working conditions.
As this report shows, the weight of the executioner's sword falls heaviest on those who are most vulnerable in Gulf societies. Legal and procedural problems, lapses in implementation of law, judgments of questionable validity, lack of access to support and assistance all contribute to the highly disproportional number of migrant's killed using the death penalty by these states. Justice, as we have seen, is not blind - it knows nationality, race, language and money, and the harshest penalties in are reserved for those among the least able to defend themselves.
To the governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia;
• To declare a suspension on judicial executions.
• To uphold and ensure the implementation of the highest standards of judicial practice - including open, free and fair trials
• To ensure access to legal representation for all defendants facing the death penalty
• To provide access to information and translation services for migrants at all relevant legal and governmental institutions.
To representatives of sending countries;
• Sending countries should stop prioritizing remittances over the life, health, happiness, rights and safety of their nationals.
• To establish consular or embassy level presence in Gulf states
• To assign a legal envoy to deal with labour issues
• To provide legal information, assistance and representation to nationals who cannot afford it themselves
• To provide information to all migrants about their rights and the laws of the receiving country in own language
To Local NGO's, social, and charitable organizations;
• To provide assistance to embassy staff in producing and disseminating informational material for migrant workers
• To provide assistance and follow-up support work to migrant workers involved in legal disputes
To media organizations in receiving countries;
• To cease media campaigns inciting racial hatred against migrant workers
• To provide consistent, fair and accurate coverage of migrant issues
Edited by Asia Report