Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cambodian Migrant Workers - Humanitarian Crisis

Its been a while since I had a chance to write on this blog but over the past day or so,  as I have been reading news from a variety of sources including IOM (International Organization for Migration), and other media reports, we are learning of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring along the Poipet border. Just a few days ago the Thai Junta government made a surprise announcement that it would arrest and deport all illegal migrant workers. 
Photo courtesy of Radio Free Asia

Photo: Courtesy of IOM

 As a result of Thai Military Junta's annoucement, this past week thousands of Cambodian migrant workers have been crossing the Poipet border back into Cambodia. According to IOM reports, 60,000 workers crossed the border this past week and 37,500 arrived yesterday. The vast majority work in construction and agriculture, where they are paid about USD 10 per day. Most are male, but about 30 per cent are women, while some 2,000 children are also part of the exodus.(IOM). As one report said, Poipet is starting to resemble a refugee camp. As thousands of Cambodians flee across the border, the town is shrouded in panic.Nearly every kind of bus, truck or military car that can fit more than 10 people is packed with poor Cambodian labourers desperate to get home. To add to their pain, Poipet has experienced blackouts and torrential rain, turning the streets into muddy tracks and hampering soldiers, medical staff and aid workers who are trying to help. The Cambodian government is doing its best to provide transportation to these migrant workers back to their home town. 
Photo: Courtesy of IOM

Photo: Courtesy of IOM

We are grateful to NGO partners and friends on the ground who are seeking to help coordinate Emergency relief efforts with IOM and other agencies. Ratanak is in consultation with them so that we can provide assistance to this emergency. As I reflect on what is happening on the Thai-Cambodian border, once again, I am reminded that Cambodians continue to suffer simply for trying to eek out a life where they can provide for their families. Many of these migrant workers were seeking to earn a living. Now as they return home, displaced and jobless, several of them if not all are vulnerable to other forms of exploitation. This situation creates a perfect storm for traffickers who would happily take advantage of the situation to advance their agendas. Once again, those who are vulnerable find themselves placed at the mercies of those who would so willingly oppress them and treat them as disposable property. Given that the numbers on the border are swelling, we would ask that you would pray for the following:

  • Pray for the safe passage back to Cambodia of all its migrant workers as there are unconfirmed reports of alleged abuses and violence against these migrants
  • Pray for the NGOs and Agencies on the ground in Poipet: IOM, Samaritans Purse, the Cambodian Red Cross, World Vision, friends from New Life Fellowship and many others who are joining in this effort, that together they can all make a difference in supporting and ministering to these migrants who now find themselves in very vulnerable situations
  • Pray for protection of all migrant workers that they would not fall prey to the tricks of the traffickers
  • Pray for the Cambodian government that the Lord will bless them with ways on how best to support and provide for these returning migrant workers
  • Pray for God's provision that He will raise up many to respond to this emerging crisis who will give their resources to meet the emergency relief needs of the migrants.
As I think of these Cambodian migrant workers, it is Psalm 121 that I am praying on their behalf:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harmhe will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

May this be so Lord Jesus, may this be so for Your Name sake and for these your precious sons and daughters who find themselves in the most vulnerable situations of their lives. May you rend the heavens, intervene and send your Holy Angels around each and every person and may you raise up many who will be your hands and feet to bless and restore hope and dignity to these who are never forsaken or forgotten by you, but who have been engraved in the palm of your hands for eternity!

No comments:

Post a Comment