Taiwan Studies Programme

Stigma and Hate in the Time of COVID: Migrant Rights in the Asia-Pacific

E07 Monica Partridge Building, Hybrid Mode: Streamed online and speaker on campus, Online registration
Thursday 18th November 2021 (12:30-15:00)

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The University of Nottingham's Taiwan Studies Programme presents a talk by Dr. Bonny Ling, Executive Director of Work Better Innovations and Research Fellow with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and Advisory Board Member of Human Rights at Sea.

Stigma and Hate in the Time of COVID: Migrant Rights in the Asia-Pacific

Hybrid mode: Streamed online and speaker on campus in person in Room E07 Monica Partridge Building, University Park

12:30-3:30 lunch provided in Room E07 Monica Partridge Building, University Park
13:30-15:00 talk starts online and in Room E07 Monica Partridge Building, University Park

Talk abstract

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates, in its Asia–Pacific Migration Data Report for 2020, that 83 million people from the region were living outside their countries of birth, representing close to 30 percent of the world’s international migrant population. In the last two years of COVID, working and living through the pandemic for the migrants in the region have meant an amplification of their structural marginalisation, owing to issues of their persistent stigma and discrimination. Yet, migrant labour in the Asia-Pacific is important not only for the vast global supply chain but also for many crucial, but difficult and low-paying, domestic sectors. This talk explores the experiences of migrant workers during COVID in the Asia-Pacific. Emphasis will be placed on the rights of migrant workers from both international and regional human rights perspectives, as well as how the issue of migration and rights is perceived in the wider discourse about their belonging and inclusion, or, conversely, hate and exclusion. 
In raising the difficult issue of migration and hate, the talk frames the universality of an experience common to many individuals who are Asians or of Asian descent especially during the early days of the pandemic. Many were at the receiving end of racism, discrimination or biases linked to the pandemic. As we embark on post-pandemic recovery in the UK and look cautiously ahead to living with COVID, it is important to acknowledge the harm caused by the stigma and discrimination against migrants and examine how we can collectively advance the rights of migrant workers in the Asia-Pacific. 


Short biography

Dr. Bonny Ling is Executive Director of Work Better Innovations, a research consultancy with a community service mission working on new ideas for a responsible economy. She is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and Advisory Board Member of Human Rights at Sea, an international NGO that raises awareness of human rights abuses in the maritime sector. Previously at the Centre for Human Rights Studies, University of Zurich in Switzerland from 2014-2019. She has worked in the UN system and in international civil society. She holds a Ph.D in Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, M.Phil (Cantab) in Criminology and MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. She wrote her PhD in Law on human trafficking and China and is an expert on human trafficking and contemporary slavery. She also consults as a legal analyst on responsible business conduct with a focus on Asia; and has served as an international election observer in East Timor and for the OSCE. She writes on human rights, migrants, business responsibilities and international relations and development; and is a strong advocate for the responsible recruitment of migrant workers. 


Taiwan Studies Programme

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD