Laos and Myanmar in Talks to Send Burmese SEZ Workers Home

Laos and Myanmar agree to repatriate workers
Laos and Myanmar agree to repatriate workers from the SEZ.

Laos and Myanmar are holding talks to discuss the repatriation of Burmese laborers from the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone.

Authorities of Bokeo Province, Laos, met with their counterparts from Tachilek Province, Myanmar, to try to resolve the situation after laborers held protests in the SEZ earlier this week, according to Bokeo Newspaper.

Deputy Provincial Governor of Bokeo, Mr. Kheunphet Vongchan, said during the discussions that laborers from Myanmar working in the SEZ have received the same rights as Lao citizens, particularly in terms of accommodation, healthcare, social welfare, and other policies.

“Laos has been affected by the second wave of Covid-19, with several businesses and industries in the SEZ closing down, leaving many workers unemployed and facing hardship,” Said Mr. Kheunphet.

Authorities from Laos and Myanmar hold talks on workers in the Golden Triangle SEZ
Authorities from Laos and Myanmar hold talks on workers in the Golden Triangle SEZ (Photo: Lao National Radio).

Mr. Khuenphet also confirmed that hundreds of Myanmar laborers staged a protest in the SEZ last week, sparked by unemployment and unhappiness with Covid-19 prevention and control measures during a lockdown in the SEZ.

“The workers requested that they be allowed to return to their home country, and were unwilling to comply with the Covid-19 prevention and control measures, particularly the Coronavirus tests and 14-day quarantine requirement before departing Laos,” Mr. Kheunphet added.

Both parties have agreed to strengthen cooperation and to ensure that workers from Myanmar continue to comply with Covid measures issued by the Lao government.

Meanwhile, Myanmar laborers, both legal and undocumented, will be permitted to return home.

They are to leave the SEZ and cross back into Myanmar in groups of 200.