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ASEAN Negotiating Rules to Protect Migrant Workers

Originally appeared in Antara News

April 11, 2011

ASEAN member states are negotiating a set of regulations to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers at the 4th meeting of the ASEAN Committee for Migrant Workers (ACMW) here on April 11-12.

“The issue of migrant workers at regional level has become increasingly complicated and that through the ACMW meeting we hope the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers especially those in the ASEAN region can be realized optimally,” acting Secretary General of the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry Muchtar Luthfi when opening the 4th meeting of ACMW at Borobudur Hotel here on Monday.

The meeting is held as part of efforts to implement the ASEAN declaration on the protection and promotion of migrant workers` rights. The meeting brought together 35 representatives/delegates of 10 ASEAN member countries as well as of the ASEAN Secretariat.

ACMW is an ASEAN committee specifically designed to deal with issues related to the protection and promotion of migrant workers. It is made up of all ASEAN member states, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The set of regulations aimed at protecting the rights of migrant workers was one of the key issues at the meeting besides development of protocols to provide migrant workers with education and training before their overseas placement, protection of migrant workers employed outside ASEAN, establishment of cooperation with bodies dealing with transnational crimes and development of ways to scrap the dispatch of underage migrant workers abroad.

Director of Overseas Placement of Migrant Workers Roostiawati said the set of regulations referred to the 1990 convention on the micro protection of migrants.

She said the legal instrument must include clauses on documented workers and non-documented workers and must bind all ASEAN member states.

ASEAN member states had committed themselves to cooperate in improving ASEAN instruments on the protection and promotion of migrant workers` rights by jointly handling migrant workers and refraining from the dispatch of underage children as migrant workers.

“As fellow ASEAN member countries, we are also making an effort to upgrade the system of placing and protecting migrant workers by sharing commitment, information and experience,” Muchtar said.

To date, there are six ASEAN member countries sending migrant workers overseas. They are Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The other four ASEAN member countries, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam are recorded as recipients of migrant workers.

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This post is in: ASEAN

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