Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN to help migrant workers




UN to help migrant workers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The project will provide mental health services and maternal and child health services, among other benefits. Photo supplied

UN to help migrant workers

The UN and Cambodia are creating a six-month $1 million programme to help migrant workers from Thailand who returned to Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Siem Reap.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng led a meeting on Wednesday with related ministries and the UN in Cambodia called “The Joint Programme to Support Returning Migrant Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic and Its Impacts”.

“I hope this programme will be well implemented. If we do this work well for six months and use the money effectively, we will get more support from the UN,” said Sar Kheng.

Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state at the Interior Ministry said during the meeting that from March 21 through July 13, more than 100,000 Cambodians returned from Thailand – 58 per cent to the three provinces.

Bun Eng said four UN institutions – the International Organisation for Migration, the World Health Organisation, the UN Population Fund, and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund requested to be allowed to cooperate with the government.

This project will provide information about Covid-19 and its preventive measures, provision of mental health services, information on infectious diseases, and maternal and child health services, said Bun Eng.

WHO representative to Cambodia Dr Li Ailan said she wanted Cambodia to provide a balance between public health and economic necessity, including assistance to vulnerable citizens.

“I am pleased to see vulnerable people, including migrant workers, are being prioritised in Cambodia.

“Cambodia has achieved many things in the past six months and responded greatly to Covid-19. It did this work with unity and we want to create a new normal situation for Cambodia,” she said.

Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights executive director Moeun Tola said on Wednesday that the workers faced many obstacles returning to Cambodia, including paying bribes to Thai and Cambodian authorities.

They do not have money, they are unemployed, and they have no money to pay the bank. To tackle this issue, some workers illegally crossed the border to work abroad while some went to Phnom Penh to find work.

Tola called for the government to list returning workers and give them IDPoor cards so they can get supporting funds. The budget of $25 million per month, he said, should give priority to the poor and those who returned from Thailand.

“It is a good thing to focus on these three provinces, but there are a lot of people in Kampong Thom and Prey Veng also. There are more than three provinces and this programme should help the whole Kingdom.

“There are two ways to help them. The first is to make IDPoor cards for them. This way, we do not have to think further. The second is to suspend or lower their debts. If they have to pay $200 per month in debts, we should allow them to pay a certain amount, not all they have,” Tola said.

He said he asked migrant workers about debts. Some claimed that they sold properties to pay the bank to prevent confiscation

The National Bank of Cambodia, Tola said, had promised to encourage banks and Microfinance Institutions to favour citizens in debt because of Covid-19, but these measures were not practised in reality.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.