Updates from Cambodia: MPs Follow up on Bilateral Agreements

Hon. Mu Sochua and Hon. Son Chhay recently requested the Singaporean and Malaysian embassies to immediately furnish copies of bilateral agreements on migrant workers with Cambodia to their offices. Hon. Mu Sochua and Hon Son Chhay are both members of the official opposition in Cambodia, the Cambodia National Rescue Party as well as the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration.

They argued that the development of these agreements did not include consultations with the relevant stakeholders. These documents were also not made available to members of parliament, thus calling into question the transparency of the entire process. They argued it was imperative for them to have access to this information as it is part of their responsibility to ensure protection for migrant worker rights. More can be read about this here.

This comes after heightened tensions between Malaysia and Cambodia after the Cambodian government imposed a ban on sending migrant domestic workers to Malaysia in October 2011. The ban came after widespread reports of exploitation and physical and sexual abuse of Cambodian domestic workers. Malaysia has recently rejected the proposed MOU between the countries on domestic workers, which aims to provide ‘basic human rights’ to the migrating Cambodian women, furthering the tensions.  More may read about this here.

This action follows the 7th meeting of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration which took place in November 2013 to discuss gender responsive social protection for migrant workers. One of the specific points of the action plan developed during the meeting was to ‘bring visibility on the issue of social protection for migrants specifically in Government to Government agreements to be forged by governments’. Bilateral agreements between sending and receiving countries on migrant worker rights are one of the most effective ways to ensure protection for migrants. Action taken by Hon. Mu Sochua and Hon. Son Chhay demonstrate their commitment to the Parliamentary Caucus, their government and to their commitment to migrant worker rights.

Hon. Mu Sochua and Hon. Son Chhay are scheduled to have a dialogue with the ambassadors of Singapore and Malaysia on this matter. We will update you on the results of the dialogue.

To view the copies of the letters sent by MPs to the embassies of Malaysia and Singapore, please open the link below:

Letter to the Malaysian Mission

Letter to the Singapore Mission