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Task Force Calls to Implement New Mechanisms for Migrant Workers

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ASEAN member states must protect the rights of economic migrants.  Participants of the ASEAN Manila Consultation on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers have developed a set of recommendations to address responses and solutions for this vulnerable group.
Some 130 participants, including FORUM-ASIA, united to represent migrant workers, community groups and NGOs, churches, trade unions and the academe from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  The task force met to discuss current human rights issues faced by migrant workers, particularly among women and children, and developed a set of recommendations for the Philippine government and ASEAN and its member states. Although the participants acknowledged the many successes of ASEAN and the government of Philippines in the area of migrant workers, they strongly objected to the fourth “General Principle” contained in the ASEAN Declaration that denies the human rights of undocumented workers. 

The participants affirmed that children of migrant workers be granted the right to citizenship, that firm action must be taken to address problems faced by women migrant workers, and that appropriate recognition be given and policy steps taken to address gender considerations.  Human trafficking in all of its forms must be firmly opposed considering human rights and gender perspectives, locating the needs and rights of survivors at the centre of anti-human trafficking policies, programs and services. 

Recommendations to the government of the Philippines include: addressing the root causes of outmigration, reducing vulnerabilities of women migrant workers, curbing illegal recruitment, trafficking and irregular migration, addressing the social costs of labour migration, and building and strengthening migrant organisations, self-representation, political and electoral representation.

The task force implores ASEAN to immediately ratify all eight core ILO Conventions that protect migrant workers, as to ensure that migrant workers are fully protected and assisted in every way possible; that practical, workable mechanisms be developed to protect both women migrant workers and their children, calling for adequate health care for migrant workers.  It is the responsibility of ASEAN and its member states to protect migrant workers’ social, political and economic rights both in the countries they are working and upon re-entering their country of origin.

Read: Statement Adopted by the Participants of the ASEAN Manila Consultation on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers (in .pdf).