ASEAN Seeks to Protect and Promote Migrant Workers Rights

25 Jul 2010   |  ASEAN Migrant Workers   |  ASEAN  

ASEAN Seeks to Protect and Promote Migrant Workers Rights
ASEAN Secretariat, 20 July 2010

About 13.5 million migrant workers from ASEAN Member States have fanned out to work in other countries across the globe. Of this number, over 5 million are working within ASEAN. As part of ASEAN’s commitment to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) convened the 3rd ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour in Ha Noi from 19 to 21 July 2010. This year’s Forum carried the theme “Enhancing Awareness and Information Services to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers”.

Participated by Labour officials and representatives of workers and employers organisations and NGOs from ASEAN Member States, in addition to experts from international organisations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Forum served as a platform for stakeholders to develop common understanding on the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders in enhancing awareness and information services to better protect and promote the rights of migrant workers. The Forum also provided the opportunity to highlight experiences in providing appropriate information services to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers, and in this process, encourage the documentation and sharing of good practices and lessons learned. In addition, participants to the Forum also developed recommendations with regard to the provision of information services on safe migration for decent work (pre-employment, pre-departure and at destination) by different stakeholders to safeguard the rights of migrant workers and to curb the trafficking and smuggling of migrant workers.

The recommendations, among others, called for ASEAN to ensure that information services are more accessible to migrants and reflect their specific and diverse needs. In this regard, ASEAN should pursue the use of varied delivery channels for pre-employment, pre-departure and on-site information, including schools and training institutions, migrant community representatives, the media and public information campaigns. ASEAN also needs to strengthen and raise the visibility of labour attachés and consulate staff in collecting and providing information, and responding to rights violations against migrant workers. These should be achieved through close engagement with the migrant community and employers, and in cooperation with authorities of the host countries.

The Forum also strongly encouraged the ASEAN Secretariat, national and regional stakeholders and international organisations to facilitate the sharing of good practices in the provision of information and services, promote the development and use of user-friendly information materials between and among ASEAN Member States. Increasing migrant workers’ ease of access to and understanding of publicly available information on laws, guidelines and other information materials produced by governments of sending and receiving states was also encouraged.

The Fourth ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour will be held in Indonesia in the second half of 2011.

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