Sun, Mar 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Migrants’ rights groups to stage flash mob at station

Staff writer, with CNA

Migrant workers’ rights groups in Taiwan plan to stage a flash mob dance at Taipei Railway Station today to call for improved rights for foreign migrant workers, especially female caregivers.

The event, now in its fifth year, aims to show solidarity with the One Billion Rising campaign, a global campaign launched by playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 2012 to highlight violence against women, said Gilda Banugan, chairperson of the Taiwan chapter of Migrante International, an organization that fights for the rights of Philippine migrant workers.

The campaign, a global event held on or close to Feb. 14 each year, invites women worldwide to dance together in a call for justice and to raise awareness about sexual violence and other abuses against women.

Migrant workers, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, are to stage five dance performances at today’s event, including We Are Beautiful and Break the Chain, Banugan said yesterday.

“Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious and it breaks the rules... Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center of One Billion Rising,” Ensler, best known for her 1996 play The Vagina Monologues, was quoted as saying on this year’s One Billion Rising Web site.

Campaigners plan to use today’s gathering to urge Taiwan to include foreign domestic caregivers in its Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), to abolish the brokerage system, to ensure mandatory days off for caregivers and to enroll foreign caregivers in the nation’s labor insurance program, Banugan said.

“It’s very unfair that we are here to work and contribute to Taiwan’s economic growth, but we are not included in the Labor Standards Act,” said Banugan, who is also a domestic helper in Taiwan. “We also hope that the Philippine government will take more action to improve the rights of caregivers in Taiwan.”

As of December last year, there were more than 370,000 female migrant workers in Taiwan, she said, adding that many of them have experienced contract violations, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Jointly organized by Migrante International’s Taiwan Chapter and ATKI-Taiwan the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, an association for Indonesian workers in Taiwan, the flash mob is to begin at 1pm in the station’s main concourse.

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