Established Migrant Technical Assistance Group, August 1, 2007

15 Aug 2007   |  Consultations   |  Regional  

Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers

1 Aug 2007

 Migrant Technical Assistance Group

Expert Group Workshop


Tool-kits on Good Practices

On the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers


The Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers is a civil society initiative to develop an ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.  ASEAN called for the elaborating of such a Framework Instrument as part of its Vientiane Action Plan, which supports the ASEAN Security Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community pillar of ASEAN.


The Task Force initiative engages civil society in regional and national consultation workshops, seeking input and contributions to support the drafting of the ASEAN Framework Instrument.   Among the groups that this effort has reached are trade unions, migrant support NGOs, human rights NGOs, migrant workers’ organizations, inter-governmental organizations, international agencies, and representatives of interested governments.  In addition to developing policy proposals and recommendations, the consultations organized by the Task Force also promote greater awareness, co-operation and participation among stakeholders about the issues and problems faced by migrant workers as they seek to assert their rights in the ASEAN region.


It is well known that ASEAN is currently in the process of significant and sustained economic integration which ASEAN plans will result in full economic integration by the year 2015  just seven years in the future.   The Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers believe that the cross-border movement of migrant workers for decent work will be the key to peaceful integration of peoples living in the ASEAN region.  


The ASEAN Framework Instrument is a first major step for ASEAN to effectively manage labour migration including  the protection of migrant workers’ rights, addressing the issue of smuggling and trafficking of persons, dealing with health, and addressing the impact of economic integration on labour migration


However, at this time, there is no regional framework agreement in ASEAN that addresses the importance of core labor standards and their connection to enforcement of decent working  and living conditions for all workers, especially migrant workers.


Current employment standards and regulations in ASEAN countries will need to be harmonized with international labour standards as called for in paragraph 22 of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers which was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders in Cebu, the Philippines, in January 2007.


The Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers believes that international core labor standards provide concrete protection for the human rights of workers and create the necessary conditions for better distribution of wealth in society, thereby reducing the poverty gap.


As ASEAN peoples cross borders seeking employment opportunities that will help them build a better life for themselves and their families, they should be treated with fairness and provided equal opportunity to succeed.   To ensure this occurs, effective national legislation will have to be promulgated by the Governments of ASEAN, building effective response beyond the ASEAN Framework Instrument to be developed.


The Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers believes that economic integration should provide:

  • Equitable access to opportunities rising above the barriers of religion, race, language, gender, social and cultural bias, etc.

  • Basic human rights all migrant workers and the familes should be repected regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented
  • Regional mutual recognition of skills
  • Frameworks to manage and enable smooth migration of workers across the border in the region
  • Framework agreements on core labor standards that provide for decent working and living conditions
  • Borderless movement - cross-border mobility for all ASEAN residents
  • Clear steps to reduce the poverty gap and the existing development gap
  • Civil Society participation in providing inputs for policy choices


Workshop Objectives:

1. To enrich the ASEAN framework with concrete experiences of improving the conditions of all migrant workers


2. To assist with technical advice and assistance in the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Protection of Migrant Workers, with special focus on paragraph 22 and its implications for the national level. 




UN OHCHR:  Human Rights Approach


OHCHR -  Humayoun  Alizadeh, Regional Representative of the Office of the OHCHR

1990 - Conventions on the rights of migrant workers and their families


National  Experience:


The Philippines experience for the promotion and protection of the rights of the migrant workers - Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola, J.D., LLM,  Director for Special Projects, Ateneo Human Rights Center



The Thai Experince - Thai Human Rights Commission, Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree, Director Office Human Rights Studies and Social Development, Graduate Studies, Mahidol University


Regional CSO Experiences:


Caram Asia – Cynthia Gabrial   - Tool Kit 


ASETUC - UNI APRO, Rolando Bobbit, Representative, ASETUC & Union Network International- Philippines Liaison council  - Way forward to go beyond the treaty bodies.


Migrant Forum in Asia  -  William Gois, Regional Co-ordination


Mekong Migrant Network - Tuyet


APWLD Labor and Migration Task Force - Maita Santiago


Inter-governmental Agencies Experiences:


ILO  -  Tetus,  Smart Travel - Smart Workers -  Fare Hire


IOM  -  Federico,    IOM toolkit


UNHCR  - Corinna,  Mixed flow of Migrant workers and Refugees


UNIFEM Gender Perspective:


UNIFEM  Jean - Tookit Gender equality in the promotion of rights migrant women workers

Jean D Cunha, Regional Program Director, UNIFEM, East and Southeast Asia Regional Office,


Tool Kit: Empowering Women Migrant Workers in Asia, A Briefing Kit


This kit developed by UNIFEM is informed by the experience of struggle, resilience, and creative practice of women migrant workers and their support groups.  It enhances an understanding of how prevention of discrimination and abuse of women migrant workers should be addressed as issues of ensuring gender equality and basic human rights; promoting sustainable development and good governance.  Finally it reinforces commitment to collaborative action between government and civil society stakeholders within and across countries and regions, in ways that meaningfully protect and empower women migrant workers.





SEARCH – CIDA:   Micheal Miner - SMART methodology. Activities to produce out put.


SEARCH – CIDA:  Phil Robertson:  Task Force needs strong support to develop a draft a framework instrument.  Need for technical assistance NGO and International Agencies.


Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers: Sinapan Samydorai -   Draft model ASEAN  framework instrument on the protection and the promotion of the rights of migrant workers including examples of of best practices. Welcome the support of ILO, IOM, UNIFEM, CSO and trade unions to provide  the best practices.


The Informal Migrant Technical Assistance Group (M-TAG) was formed at the consultation-workshop participate by senior United Nations experts who presented information about their activities and policy recommendations to the ASEAN CSO, Trade Unions and the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers.  A total of 39 senior staff (from ILO, IOM, UNHCR, OHCHR, UNIFEM, UNIAP, UNICEF, and others) took part and offered proposals, policy recommendations, and pledges of ongoing technical support for the work of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers to develop a draft ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.


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