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Boost for migrant workers protection

  • Written by Cristina Lee-Pisco
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 297

LEADERS of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sign today the ASEAN Consensus on the
Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers during the ASEAN Summit in Manila.

This landmark document, initiated by the Philippines a decade ago, further seeks to strengthen
social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services for the
migrant workers of Southeast Asia.
    
The Philippines is among the top sending countries for migrant workers and has more than 10
million migrant workers all over the world.
    
With the finalization of the document, the ten ASEAN member states have come together for the
greater good and in fulfillment of ASEAN’s goal to develop an instrument that establishes a framework
for cooperation in safeguarding the interests and welfare of thousands of migrant workers in the
region.
    
Last September, the Ministers of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council endorsed
the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
    
The ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers dubbed as
the ASEAN Consensus, brought regional cooperation to greater heights in building a people-centered,
people oriented community, since the signing of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion
of the Rights of Migrant Workers in 2007.
    
“The many years of tireless negotiations have brought to fore many issues surrounding labor
migration and enabled member states to better understand one another and work out solutions towards
better protection and promotion of rights of our migrant workers,” said Deputy Secretary-General for
ASCC Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee.
    
Among its many important provisions, the ASEAN Consensus upholds fair treatment of migrant
workers with respect to gender and nationality, provides for visitation rights by family members,
prohibits confiscation of passports and overcharging of placement or recruitment fees, protects
against violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, regulates recruiters for better protection of
workers, and respects their right to fair and appropriate remuneration and benefits and their right to
join trade unions and association.
    
Like all ASEAN agreements, the implementation of the ASEAN Consensus will be subject to the
respective laws of the organization’s member countries.
    
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this important agreement will benefit the region’s
migrant workers including 212,435 Filipino migrant workers in Southeast Asia, the majority of whom are
in Singapore and Malaysia.