Research Report on HIV Policy, Migrants’ Health Rights Launched

A research report on A Review of HIV Policy Progression and Migrants’ Health Rights in Five Origin Countries, published by the CARAM Asia was launched in Bangladesh.

CAMAM member Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) unveiled the regional country research report, a result of collective efforts of CARAM Asia member organizations, at a programme in Narayanganj city in late December, said OKUP officials concerned.

CARAM Asia, a regional network of 42 migrant right organizations, urged destination countries to remove their HIV status as exclusionary conditions for recruitment, replacement and restrictions on migrant workers’ movement.

It also urged the labour receiving countries to provide voluntary and confidential counseling and testing to migrant workers and let the HIV infected migrants work abroad and access affordable treatment and care services.

In a recent study report, CARAM Asia recommended to the governments in destination countries to ensure that the migrants got proper day-offs, provide affordable and accessible recreation facilities to migrant workers as alternative to risky behavior for relaxation and holidays.

When asked, OKUP chairman Shakirul Islam said that his organization had successfully completed Bangladesh chapter’s research on the HIV policy progression and migrant’s health rights in five origin countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

About the countries of origin, the report recommended that the migrants’ countries of origin should conduct research and disaggregate data on HIV and migration to provide evidence-based policy guidance in countries with high rates of out migration.

It recommended that as preventive measures HIV education should reach migrants’ source communities and be comprehensive including information about sexual orientation, gender identities and expression in interventions.

The pre-departure training for both men and women migrant workers must include comprehensive session on HIV prevention, treatment and care with contextual and factual information on risky behavior which migrant workers may engage in while abroad with homosexuality with testimonies by previous migrants as possible

Labour attaches and consular staff should be better prepared and sensitized to provide appropriate emotional support, counseling and referral as necessary to distressed migrants, who are HIV positive and may be deported.

It called for ensuring that migrant health rights were protected under bilateral agreements with labour receiving countries

International and regional forums like SAARC, ASEAN, Colombo Process and Abu Dhabi Dialogue could be utilized as potential forums for increasing bilateral or multilateral cooperation and collaboration with regard to HIV/AIDS and migration.

The report explicitly called for recognizing and protecting migrant rights in the light of the stipulations in the Global Compact on Migration.

The research was conducted by member organizations of CARAM Asia in five countries with two main objective ---To review HIV and AIDS related policies in five origin countries to identify new changes or remaining obstacles in protecting migrants’ health rights and To explore impediments in access to HIV services for migrants

CARAM Asia believes that ‘all people have right to stay or move and live and work in dignity with equal rights in society, where their quality of life is ensured.’

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