Enhancing Awareness and Information Services to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers

28 Jul 2010   |  ASEAN Migrant Workers   |  ASEAN  

3rd ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour

Enhancing Awareness and Information Services to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers

19-20 July 2010  Ha Noi


The 3rd ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour was held on 19-20 July 2010 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. There were more the 100 participants including representatives from the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society organizations of nine ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Task Force for ASEAN Migrant Workers (TF-AMW) and UNIFEM.


The purpose of the Forum was to provide an open platform for discussion and the exchange of views and ideas among stakeholders on labour migration issues, with specific attention to the theme of enhancing awareness and ensuring access to information for the protection of the rights of migrant workers.


To promote the implementation of the Declaration, the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ decided to institutionalize the Forum as an annual meeting. The active participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations, recruitment agencies and civil society organizations is important to the establishment of a people-oriented ASEAN that reaches to all corners of society. The ASEAN Declaration on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers outlines sending and receiving countries’ obligations, and joint obligations of ASEAN countries.


Indonesia as the Chair of the ASEAN in 2011, will host the 4th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour next year, and will bring together a broad group of stakeholders to continue efforts to implement the Declaration on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers.




Participants split into two discussion groups to discuss information services and put forward recommendations. The discussions were moderated by Mr. Sinapan Samydorai, the TF-AMW Convenor, and Mr. Bruno Maltoni from IOM. The six draft recommendations that emerged from the workshop discussion groups were presented to the plenary for comment and debate.


There were concerns raised from Malaysian MOHR and Singaporean MOM with regard to the clause in Recommendation 3 on monitoring. Other participants felt that improving the quality of information and service providers required monitoring against the standards outlined in national and international legislation and commitments.


Under Recommendation 6, the Malaysian MOHR raised a concern about the sharing of laws or policies on migration that could be considered confidential. They therefore proposed the inclusion of the following clause: \"...pursuant to the laws, policies and regulations of the respective ASEAN Member States”. It was agreed to only share “publicly available” information.


Viet Nam as Chair of the ASEAN will submit the Recommendations of the 3rd ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour to the ACMW who will then submit them for endorsement from the SLOM.





Further to the Joint Communiqué of the 21st ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting on 24 May 2010, the 3rd ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour put forward the following recommendations are in support of the Implementation of the Declaration on the Protection and the Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Work Program (2010-2015).




1.         Strengthen information and services to better protect women and men migrant workers and ensure decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Provide opportunities for migrants to realize their labour rights in line with legislation of the ASEAN Member States, the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and their basic human rights protected by the UN and international conventions, particularly CEDAW and CRC, and in the spirit of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.




2.         Ensure that information services are more accessible to women and men migrants and reflect their specific and diverse needs. Pursue the use of varied delivery channels for pre-employment, pre-departure and on-site information, including schools and training institutions, migrant community representatives, the media and public information campaigns. Continually assess the quality and reach of information services for migrant workers and the capacity of service providers to meet these needs.


3.         Provide accessible channels for women and men migrant workers to report and seek redress  for violations of rights and terms and conditions of employment, and promote the implementation of the national legislation and international commitments.




4.         Strengthen and raise the visibility of labour attachés and consular staff in collecting and providing information, and responding to rights violations against women and men migrant workers. This should be achieved through close engagement with the migrant community and employers, and in cooperation with authorities of the host countries.




5.         Actively engage and consult stakeholders from government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and civil society organizations in developing and implementing information campaigns and services for women and men migrant workers at all stages of the migration cycle. 




6.         The ASEAN Secretariat, national and regional stakeholders and international organizations should facilitate the sharing of good practices in the provision of information and services,  promote the development and use of user-friendly information materials between and among ASEAN states and increase migrant workers’ ease of access to and understanding of publicly available information on laws, guidelines and other information materials produced by governments of sending and receiving states. The ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, stakeholders, the UN and international organizations should continue to cooperate in providing opportunities for capacity building and confidence building of stakeholders at national and regional levels.

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