215 Million reasons

… to support Asian Women at Work.

The F Collection is a blog project by F that highlights a feminist or women’s rights campaign, group or issue every Monday (or Tuesday when there’s a Monday public holiday… Any excuse). Read on!

Do you think every person deserves to have their working rights covered? Then there are indeed 215 million reasons to support Asian Women at Work as they take part in a postcard campaign for Australia to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. The campaign is being run by the Australian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance (AIRWA), of which AWatW is part.

You can sign the postcard here.

AWatW are a community organisation supporting working women of Asian backgrounds.

AWatW members campaign

I chatted with Lina Cabaero, co-ordinator of AWatW, this week, and asked her about the campaign. Here’s what she had to say about the campaign:

One of the best things about this campaign is that it is currently being translated into Mandarin, Nepali, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai.

It has to be accessible. Most of the time campaigns are not in the language of migrants and so they may not really understand what they are signing up for.

When asked why migrant workers might need this protection, Lina says:

Ratifying the convention will help to ensure basic rights are protected. Thirty women migrants from AIRWA have already been to parliament and lobbied for this. This postcard campaign is the next step.

The convention brings together protections for migrant workers from six other conventions which are not specific to workers. Consolidating these protections and the process of campaigning and ratification strengthens the protections as well as making visible a vulnerable group of workers, for example those on 457 visas.

No developed or recieving country has yet ratified this convention, while many developing or supply countries have, so Australia has a chance to be a world first. After all a Labor government should be for all workers.

Lina, who is from the Philippines and has lived in Australia for many years, says the rights of migrant workers are often unprotected. The Philippines has a very high rate of exported labour, and while in Lina’s view the ideal solution would be to provide jobs in the Philippines, she says in the meantime migrant work rights need protection.

This campaign is being launched at the Bankstown City on the 17th of June, this Sunday 10am. The event is being held in Bankstown at the Council Chambers or Round House, the corner of Chapel St and the Mall. You’re invited to come along and support the campaign! Members of F will be attending so please give a shout in the comments if you want to catch up.

Additionally AWatW is looking for two scribes to help with a seminar following the launch from 12-3pm. Want to help out? Leave a comment or email me at megan dot clementcouzner at gmail dot com.

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