Training diplomats to be more sensitive to the needs of migrant populations

The Canadian Human Rights Foundation (CHRF) works with Asian NGOs and governments to train labor attachés to protect the rights of their citizens living and working abroad.

Many countries depend on their workers to travel abroad as migrant laborers for a significant source of their country’s revenue. Yet in many cases, migrant laborers are mistreated. Migrant women and particularly vulnerable and often end up being trafficked into the sex industry or working as “domestics,” where they are poorly treated. Many governments feel that abuses occurring abroad are simply “not their problem.”

The CHRF and its Asian partners organize training programs once or twice a year throughout Asia. The trainings teach government attachés to be more sensitive to the abuses that many migrant workers face and more proactive in protecting the rights of their citizens working abroad. Each program lasts between five and six days and involves a group of only 30-40 people, including representative of NGOs and governments. The small group situation is less threatening for the participants, and the mixed attendance allows for traditional barriers between NGOs and government workers to be broken down. The sessions have a lasting impact because the parties involved share a common experience and are better able to work together and keep in touch.

The CHRF is able to use its international clout and experience to support the local Asian NGOs in the development and implementation of these training sessions. The CHRF and the NGOs work together to determine the content of each training session, develop a program, invite people to the session, and host the event. This partnership allows the Asian NGOs to access resources that they would otherwise not have and helps the CHRF to have an impact on a local level.  

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