Opening Remark
In consultation workshop on the protection and promotion of the Rights of migrant workers
31 July 2007,
At Asia Hotel, Bangkok

Representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Representative from National Human Rights commission,
Representative from Trade Union, Forum Asia, ILO and SEARCH

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

On behalf of the Ministry of Labour, it is my great honor to join the consultation consultation workshop today. I also like to thank the Task Force for ASEAN Migrant Workers for inviting Ministry of Labour to participate in this consultation workshop.
As we know that on the 12th ASEAN Summit Meeting in January 2007, Cebu City, the Philippines. The Leaders adopted the ASEAN Declaration on the protection and promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, which our Prime Minister signed the Declaration on behalf of the Royal Thai government.

The Declaration objectives aim at protection and promotion of the rights of migrants among the ASEAN countries. It is also specified the principles of sending, receiving and transit countries based on principle of human rights and international labour standards.

For Thailand, the government gives priority to the migration issues. We have implemented various measures with the aim to regulate and orderly manage the flow of migration. For example, we offer the registration for migrant who illegally enter to Thailand, provide protection for Thai worker who are working overseas, prevent the smuggling of migrant who aim for the third countries.

At present, we have around 2 million migrant in Thailand who legally or illegally stays in the country. As a result of this year registration, which ended on last June 2007, there are only 532,305 migrants who registered. Beside the registration, the Ministry signed the Memorandum of understanding with our neighbouring countries, namely, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Myanmar.  The objective of the MOU is to promote an orderly and illegally entering of migrants to work in Thailand. In addition, we also have cooperation project with the international organization, such as, IOM and ILO on the promotion and raising awareness on migrant rights to concern agencies.

On the protection of Thai workers, the Ministry has cooperated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in protecting and assisting Thai workers who faced difficulty while working overseas through our Labour Office and Thai Embassy in that country. Alongside with the protection, we also have bilateral Agreement with the receiving countries, such as, Korea and Taiwan, on the employment of Thai worker as well.

The Ministry realizes that it is our mission to protect and promote the right of workers, both Thai and migrants. However, in doing so, we need cooperation and assistance from our stakeholders, namely, private sector, non-governmental organizations, and communities. The building of networking among above-mentioned agencies with the Ministry is our first priority measure that we are committed.

Today Consultation Workshop is a good opportunity for the Ministry to exchange ideas, experiences and practices with other organizations who work for the migrants. It also will lead to the improvement of migration management in Thailand.

Lastly, I hope that the Consultation Workshop today will provide us with the concrete measures and re commendation that benefits not only for Thai worker but also for migrant workers in the ASEAN countries as well.

Once again, I with you all success for today meeting.

Thank you for your kind attention.

On behalf of the Ministry of Labour