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Advocacy for Protection of Migrant Workers Rights Moves into High Gear
(Task Force Publications)
Tue, Dec 22, 2009

Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers

Advocacy for Protection of Migrant Workers Rights Moves into High Gear

As activists around Southeast Asia gathered to celebrate International Migrants Day on December 18th, the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers and Forum Asia launched an important resource book for the campaign to achieve a comprehensive ASEAN agreement that will protect the human rights of all migrant workers.  For the first ever time in print, the book features the full text of the ASEAN civil society Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers that was formally proposed to the ASEAN Senior Labor Officials Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, in May 2009.  The Framework Instrument was drafted, reviewed, revised, and finalized in a bottom-up process of 8 national consultations and 7 regional consultations attended by the major trade union, NGO, and community-based organization networks in ASEAN in 2007-2008.

Sinapan Samydorai, the Convener of the TF-AMW, remarked that “With this book in their hands, civil society campaigners hold in succinct form the proposal that their activist colleagues believe ASEAN should use as a road-map in drawing up a real ten-state agreement on the rights of all migrant workers in the region.  By speaking and working together for the adoption of key elements of our common proposal, I am sure that we can persuade ASEAN to adopt a final Instrument on the rights of all migrant workers that makes a real difference in improving the migrant workers’ and their families lives in the region."


The book also features the full text of each of the final national consultations statements from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.   TF-AMW also included key letters and statements made to ASEAN officials and national governments on various aspects of the ASEAN led process to fulfill the promise of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. 


Senior ASEAN official Donald Tambunan wrote the introduction of the resource book, showing the ASEAN Secretariat’s support for processes like this to bring the involvement of ASEAN peoples in the organization.   He said that “The development and publication of this document is yet more evidence of the strong interest of ASEAN civil society to promote the ASEAN Community building process.  The ASEAN Secretariat therefore congratulates the TF-AMW for this effort. We would like to encourage the TF-AMW to continue its engagement with ASEAN through the consultation process on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers at the national and regional levels.”


The ASEAN civil society Framework Instrument was used as the core reference document at a break-through meeting of the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour, convened by the Thai Ministry of Labour on 30-31 July  2009 in Bangkok, which brought together officials of the ten ASEAN governments, and a full complement of trade union and NGO activists from throughout the region.   The governments were highly receptive towards civil society’s proposal and this interest has continued – especially with reports that three governments on the drafting committee to develop the formal ASEAN agreement on the protection and promotion of the rights of  migrant workers are now using the civil society Framework Instrument as an important reference document.  The TF-AMW encourages the governments to develop their policies and agreement on migration using any and all of civil society’s proposals, and we urge our fellow civil society activists to join the TF-AMW’s lobbying and advocacy efforts for adoption of the civil society proposal.  


All across ASEAN, the TF-AMW has launched national coordinating committees to lead advocacy efforts focused on national government policy makers.   These union leaders, NGO activists, and community organizers can now make use of this new campaign resource to educate their team members and serve as a reference for campaign-related materials.   The year 2010 will be critical for bringing real protection to migrant workers in ASEAN – and the TF-AMW is ready to lead all civil society networks to make it happen!

Copies of the publication are available from Sinapan Samydorai, the Convener of the TF-AMW, who can be contacted at  fax: + 65 6425 0709 ; email: samysd@yahoo.com or from the Forum Asia office at  fax: +662 653 2942; email: info@forum-asia.org; office address: 246 Times Square Building, 12 Floor, Room 12-01 Sukhumvit Road, between Soi 12-14, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110. Thailand. Electronic copies of  the Civil Society Proposal can also be mailed out in response to emails to the Convener of the TF-AMW at: samysd@yahoo.com


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