Flooded Lives: suffering and solidarity in a submerged Thailand

It’s raining in Thailand...torrential tropical downpours that have ravaged the country and left millions of people homeless, jobless and desperate.

Hundreds have died and thousands more move have been forced to relocate as their home towns and villages become lakes, their lives submerged along with their streets.

Among those suffering are migrant workers, a community largely excluded from state welfare in Thailand in the best of time, in the worst of times they are all but forgotten, except by those checking for legal status. Stranded in a foreign country, with family support hundreds of miles away, their possessions lost, their income gone, thousands of migrant workers are struggling to survive.

Election time in Thailand... just another day for migrant workers

Election time in Thailand and the streets of Chiang Mai are littered with huge billboards displaying photos of different candidates for different parties, all wearing suits and all smiling sardonically in the way that only a politician can. In the streets, bars and cafes people are discussing who might win the election and the impact it might have on the future of this beautiful country.

But for some this election means little, they have no say in who wins and while they will be affected by the outcome one way or another, there is little chance it will be in the way of any positive change. For the millions of migrant workers working in Thailand, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees living in the camps near the border of Burma, little has changed over the last ten or twenty years and what change that has come has not been given freely by any government. For these people all the anticipation surrounding the 2011 national election is simply someone else’s business.

To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? By Lucy Siegle

The journalist's look at the fashion industry is a chilling exposé.

An expose on the fashion industry written by the Observer's 'Ethical Living' columnist, examining the inhumane and environmentally devastating story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear.

16 People Died Today...

Sixteen people died today. Sixteen migrant workers dead with 50 more injured...

Migrant workers die at work every day, so these 16 are nothing special. The dangerous conditions found in almost every workplace of migrants makes fatalities commonplace.

But then these people didn’t die at work...although their deaths were caused by someone else's desire to make a profit.

A Gathering Across Borders: Migrant Workers and the Labour Movement

At the end of February, just before the onset of tropical heat in Thailand's moutainous north, the MAP Foundation held a gathering of trade unionists and migrant workers from different ethnicities of Burma, The Migrant Movements Consultation.

With Trade Unions banned from Burma since 1962 this gathering was a chance for migrant workers to hear from trade unionist from across South East Asia and as far away as India, to learn some tools of labour organising for use in their daily lives and one day, come the overthrow of dictatorship, allow them to build a new and independent labour movement when they return home.

This is the story of an inspirational event, held in five different languages, that has helped build the confidence of a newly emerging workers movement.

Dancing, Laughing and Police Harassment: A Night in the Shan Community

A few weeks ago I was taken to meet people of the Shan community, an ethnic group from Burma, at a local temple in Chiang Mai. This was no religious experience but a gathering of migrant workers in the safe space of temple grounds, where people could come together with members of their own community and keep their culture alive. I was treated to a display of traditional Shan dancing by these warm and welcoming people. But beyond the joy and laughter I learned about the very serious and important reason for these gatherings...

No Sweat in Thailand: Working with the MAP Foundation and migrant workers

After working for No Sweat over the last ten years, being involved in demos outside high street shops of sweatshop abusing companies, organising meetings to discuss sweatshop labour issues, holding benefit gigs to raise funds for workers around the world struggling for better conditions and better lives, I have come to a country that is on the frontline of sweatshop production and home to many of the conditions that I’ve been campaigning against with No Sweat.

I am here working with an organisation called the MAP Foundation, based in the north of Thailand near the border of Burma. Over the coming months I will be reporting back through this blog telling supporters of No Sweat about the work of MAP on the frontlines of the global anti-sweatshop movement. There are conferences planned, demonstrations, trips to visit workplaces and consultations with workers. I will do my best to bring you real life stories of the migrant workers in Thailand and help MAP give a voice to the unheard.

G8 Blogs

There will be various blogs in this section in the run up to the G8 in Germany which everyone can view.

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