At least 17 migrant workers from Myanmar committed suicide within a four-month period, activists say, raising concerns about the well-being of such workers as measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic continue.
In a report by Myanmar news portal Eleven Media Group, one of the activists San Win said many of the workers had lost their jobs amid government crackdowns and restrictions on travel.
“They could no longer afford to rent apartments or pay for their basic needs,” he said.
Many of the workers had lost their jobs amid government crackdowns and restrictions on travel.
“That’s why they committed suicide.”
According to the report, there are more than 300,000 illegal workers from Myanmar in the country.
A separate report by Narinjara News, which carries anti-regime news on the restive Arakan region of Myanmar, said one of the workers committed suicide just under a week ago, on Sept 15.
A village elder from his hometown in the Man Aung township in Rakhine said Zaw Zaw, 44, had reportedly hanged himself.
“It is unknown at this time why he took his own life,” the elder said, adding that Zaw Zaw’s son had also been working with him in Malaysia.
The report also spoke of another man just half Zaw Zaw’s age who was said to have killed himself a day earlier on Sept 14.
It said Khin Maung Tun, 22, came from the village of Thirimingalar in the Taungdwingyi township of the Magway division.
On May 26, the government said it would deport all undocumented workers who test negative for Covid-19 to their home countries.
The decision was made at an inter-ministerial meeting on the management of illegal workers.
The report by Eleven Media Group said the Myanmar embassy in Malaysia had also collected a list of some 3,000 undocumented workers who wish to return to Myanmar.