Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia (SEA)

Return migrant workers in Cambodia receive COVID-19 relief assistance from European Union and ILO

The Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia Programme provides relief assistance to more than 1,700 Cambodian migrant workers returning to Cambodia in partnership with CENTRAL.

Press release | 10 December 2021
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (ILO-News) – The Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia programme, supported by the European Union (EU), is delivering emergency assistance for Cambodian migrant workers whose livelihoods in Thailand have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant of US$21,000 will enable the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) to provide immediate relief and expand support for restoring livelihoods to approximately 1,741 women and men return migrant workers in 5 provinces of Cambodia, namely Koh Kong, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang.

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The support will particularly target irregular migrants returning without legal status as they often have fewer financial resources and may have more difficulty accessing government services. Assistance will include food rations, personal protective equipment and hygiene products, as well as crucial information on preventing COVID-19 and migrant workers’ rights. All recipients will be provided with information and services on safe migration and finding local employment upon their return. The grant will also strengthen coordination between civil society organizations and local authorities and seek to bridge the gaps remaining in support for return migrant workers during COVID-19.

“Since the pandemic began in March 2020, more than 225,000 Cambodian migrant workers have returned from Thailand to Cambodia. These migrant workers and their families continue to experience severe financial hardships during COVID-19. This grant aims to respond to the immediate challenges they face in returning to Cambodia, while also supporting the long-term economic recovery of their households,” said Graeme Buckley, ILO Country Director for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

Mr Tola Moeun, Executive Director of CENTRAL, expressed his sincere appreciation to the ILO and EU for the funding to assist vulnerable return migrant workers and their families in Cambodia during this critical time. He said, “This grant will provide desperately needed services for the most poor and marginalized migrant workers, offering them relief, the prospect of new livelihoods and the assurance that they are not forgotten.”

The Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia Programme is a multi-country, multi-annual initiative of the European Union and the United Nations, implemented by the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Development Programme.

The programme delivers technical assistance and support with the overall objective of promoting safe and regular labour migration among South East Asian countries. The programme addresses the specific characteristics of work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors as well as the barriers and risks present in the migration system, which can lead to unsafe migration, decent work deficits, abuse and trafficking for forced labour.