12 May 2009
Mr. Khamkhane Phinsavanh
Chairman, Asean Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM)
Director-General, Labour Management Department
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare
Dear Director-General Khamkhane,
The Task Force on
Asean Migrant Workers (TF-AMW) has the great honour to present to you today the
Asean civil society Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the
Rights of Migrant Workers for the consideration of the
The TF-AMW strongly
supports the commitment of Asean to fully implement the Asean Declaration on
the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and pledges to
continuously engage with Asean as partners on all efforts to bring the promise
of the Declaration to full fruition. We view the appointment of an
Instrument drafting committee by the Asean Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW)
as yet another positive indication of the dedication of the Asean Member States
to substantively address the need for greater protections for migrant
workers. We support the timely drafting of the Instrument by the ACMW and
give you our assurance that we will actively participate and engage in this
As Asean moves towards its goal of economic integration by 2015, it is both important and timely that these processes of protection for migrant workers are now moving rapidly forward. We believe that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached between the labour sending and labour receiving nations of Asean which will ensure that migrant workers are given a fair deal which includes respect for their rights and effective protective mechanisms, in accordance with the vision of Asean as a sharing and caring community in which all persons are valued.
The TF-AMW supports an Instrument that encompasses all migrant workers, regardless of documented or undocumented status, sector of work (i.e. informal work and domestic work), or origin. We also recognise that migrant workers often have children and other family members accompanying them, and note that all Asean Governments have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw). Therefore, we respectfully submit that all migrant workers and their families should be covered by the forthcoming Instrument. The TF-AMW views that the alternative -- which would be an agreement that essentially divides migrant workers into groups of people who are protected and people who are not protected -- is a recipe for confusion and a regulatory morass that will be compounded by the challenges of cross-border engagement to protect their rights. The TF-AMW is of the opinion that it is far better to craft an Instrument that offers one clear and comprehensive set of protections to all migrant workers.
In accordance with
the Asean Charter which sets out the status of Asean as a legal organisation,
the TF-AMW believes that the final Instrument on the Protection and Promotion
of the Rights of Migrant Workers which is adopted by the Asean Governments
should be a legally binding document.
In developing the Asean civil society Framework Instrument, which we are proposing today, the Task Force and its national partners have attempted to develop a comprehensive set of ideas and proposals for the consideration of the national officials of the Asean Member Governments. We recognise that the document that we have prepared is long and detailed but this reflects the seriousness with which we have approached this important task to provide the best, most thorough proposal to Asean. We entrust our work today to the Asean Senior Labour Officials Meeting to provide to the Asean Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW), and other relevant national and regional bodies considering the protection of migrant workers, and look forward to a process of continuing dialogue and engagement with you.
With my highest respect,
Convener, Task Force on Asean Migrant Workers
Tel: + 65 9479 1906 Fax: + 65 6425 0709
cc: H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General, Asean
National Focal Points, Asean Committee on Migrant Workers