Protection of Taiwan OFWs urged


Overseas Filipino workers groups in Taiwan have joined a campaign by a local human rights group to press the government for legislation to protect the rights migrant laborers amid the global economic crisis plaguing the island.

The Taiwanese chapters of the Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Migrant's Mission and the Manila-based Migrante International, which counts OFWs as members, have joined the Alliance for Human Rights Legislation for Immigrants and Migrants (AHRLIM) in calling for laws to punish employers and recruitment brokers that take advantage of the economic crisis to abuse the rights of their migrant workforce.

The AHRLIM is spearheaded by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Taiwan's oldest independent human rights group.

On December 22, the alliance came out with a petition, a copy of which is posted in the TAHR website scoring the Taiwanese government for ignoring the rights of its migrant population.

"[S]ome in the government and in the news media are trying to use that uncertainty to create fear and deny these new immigrants and migrants their rights," read part of the petition.

"Instead of educating society about the advantages of a multicultural, pluralist society, the newspapers and TV just make immigrants and migrants look like a big problem. They try to create the idea that the new immigrants and migrants are criminals and spies, the main source of today's social ills," it said.

APMM area coordinator for Taiwan, Gi Estrada, said the alliance has also taken the cudgels for migrant workers facing unrelenting termination of jobs and being forced to sign agreements that breach their contracts.

Through the alliance, APMM and Migrante-Taiwan are pushing for stiffer penalties against employers who breach contracts to terminate migrant workers. The two groups said recruiters should also be made to monetarily compensate the migrant workers for the contract breach.