ASEAN Forum on Labour and Migration
Task Force Activities Reported
Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers member Migrant Forum in Asia reported on the Task Force consultation activities and presented key elements of the Civil Society–Trade Union Position Paper for the ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers. While the forum was a closed door event among ASEAN leaders, Task Force member Migrant Forum in Asia [MFA] was invited to speak on migration issues and concern.
April 24-25, 2008, the ASEAN Secretariat held a forum entitled, “ASEAN Forum on Labour and Migration” at the Mandarin Oriental, Makati, Philippines. The event was hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines and supported by the International Labor Association (ILO).
The forum was duly noted to be the first event to follow up on the ASEAN Declaration for the Protection and Promotion of Workers. The declaration is seen as an important first step towards the improvement of migrant workers situation in the ASEAN region. It hopes to ensure good working conditions and decent wages as well as wider coverage of protection from abuses and violations for migrant workers, consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The declaration identified eight commitments by ASEAN states to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, including humane working conditions and the establishment of human resources development programs and reintegration programs in the migrant workers' countries of origin.
Accordingly, the forum was an opportunity for Migrant Forum in Asia to forward its agenda on migrants’ rights protection in the ASEAN. MFA was invited to speak on the “Priority issues and concerns relative to migrant protection - the point of view of migrant workers”. MFA's Regional Coordinator, Mr. William Gois, spoke on the current labour mobility situation in the ASEAN, as well as some of migrant worker’s concern advancing from consultations and dialogues with migrants and migrants group.
Mr. Gois’ presentation highlighted Key Elements for the ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the rights of migrant workers, a result of a wide range of consultation among civil society and trade unions working on the issue of migrant workers. The final output of which, is a CSO-TU Position Paper on an ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
He also explained MFA’s involvement on the work of the Taskforce on ASEAN Migrant Workers, which is a regional mechanism formed by regional civil society organizations, regional trade unions and national focal points with the key task of engaging ASEAN on the elaboration of an instrument to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.
The Task Force held several country consultations among the different ASEAN states, including Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Recommendations from this consultation will be put together by the Taskforce into a Draft ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
While the forum was a closed door event among ASEAN leaders, MFA was one of the selected civil society organizations invited to speak on migration issues and concern, together with the Scalabrini Migration Center who discussed issues on trafficking and risks of labour migration.