Draft Statement for adoption by the participants of the by birdmandaddy


									                                 Statement adopted at the
                    ASETUC/Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers
                                Consultation Workshop on
                Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers

   “Forging and Strengthening Linkages among Migrant NGOs and Trade Unions”
                     28 March 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1. To protect the rights and ensure just and fair treatment of migrant workers and their
families, the participating trade unions and civil society organizations have committed
themselves to closely and wholeheartedly collaborate in the vital effort to create a
framework for protection of the rights of all migrant workers in ASEAN, in line with the
commitment made by the ASEAN Governments in the Vientiane Action Plan, and the
call for an “ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant
workers” in the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of
Migrant Workers.

2. Both trade unions and civil society organizations play vital roles in the daily lives of
workers, especially migrant workers. We help migrants find solutions to their problems
and seek redress for injustice from their employers and the Government. In both sending
and receiving countries, we provide services to workers and their families in health,
social services, skill development and capacity building, adult and child education, rights
awareness, organizational development, and many other areas. Throughout our
engagement, we hold that a right-based approach that focuses on empowering migrants
is the best course of action. It is this commitment to seek justice for migrant workers,
wherever they are in the ASEAN region, which underpins our efforts and drives the
cooperative relationship we are setting out today.

3. We welcome the establishment of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers
comprising of trade unions, human rights and migrant rights non-governmental
organisations, and migrant worker associations. We stand prepared to collaborate with
the Task Force in the development of a rights-based framework for the protection and
promotion of the rights of migrant workers.

4. By joining hands today in what we expect will be a historic effort to support the rights
and aspirations of migrant workers throughout ASEAN, we state clearly that the status
quo of exploited, abused, isolated, and forgotten migrant workers, toiling long hours
with little hope of earning a fair wage while all the time facing dangerous conditions of
work, is not acceptable. There must be a new deal for migrant workers in ASEAN,
regardless of their origin or current documented status, which sets out in a binding
framework the principle that migrant workers shall be guaranteed national treatment in
their conditions of work and life outside of work.

5. Migrant workers are not commodities and should not be considered simple factors of
production and services, but rather must be treated as human beings with rights, without
discrimination in any form. All the ASEAN Governments are bound by the UN
Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) which promotes “faith in fundamental human
rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and
women.” Through our efforts working with Governments, we hope to create an
ASEAN Framework for the Protection of Rights of Migrant Workers that will give life to

Statement adopted at the ASETUC/Task Force on Migrant Workers Workshop, KL, 28 March 2007   Page 1
the commitments made under UDHR articles 22, 23, 24, and 25. With the very
welcome entry of Brunei Darussalam to ILO membership, all ASEAN governments are
required as a condition of ILO membership to respect and comply with the core labour
standards contained encompassed in the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work.

6. We believe that clear and appropriate mechanisms for practical implementation of the
rights of migrant workers and dedicate ourselves to elaborate a Framework for the
Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers in a comprehensive and consultative

7. We welcome the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights
of Migrant Workers as an important step forward to protect the human and labour rights
of migrant workers within the ASEAN region. Specifically, we commend the ASEAN
Governments for taking a comprehensive approach which emphasizes that both the
countries of origin of migrants, and the states in which they are employed, have
important obligations to safeguard migrant workers' rights, welfare, and well-being.

8. We support the Declaration's clear commitment to protect the rights, dignity and
welfare of migrant workers entering countries of destination, by among other things,
providing access to services, fair and just terms and conditions of employment, decent
living conditions, access to justice under international legal standards, and promoting
tolerance between migrant communities and populations of the receiving state. We
further note that the Declaration’s mention of “social welfare services” should
encompass health and social services.

9. We further applaud the Declaration's focus on the obligations of sending states to
expand their measures to protect migrant workers, including adopting policies and
processes to fairly and effectively facilitate migration, and to take strong measures to end
abusive practices by brokers, agencies, and employers in the recruitment, sending and
placement of migrant workers.

10. We further welcome the "Commitments by ASEAN" section of the Declaration
which sets out timely initiatives that we believe will contribute significantly to the most
important Commitment listed which is to "Promote decent, humane, productive,
dignified, and remunerative employment for migrant workers."

11. We note the repeated emphasis of the Declaration on the importance of the national
laws, regulations and policies of the ASEAN states. We note that the eight core
international human rights instruments all apply equally to migrant workers, and
therefore we urge all ASEAN member states to ensure that their laws, regulations and
policies on migrant workers are in compliance with those instruments.

12. We would especially like to recommend that the ASEAN Governments adopt
policies that align with the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration and
comply with the core ILO Conventions. As an important step to ensure national laws,
regulations, and standards are in line with the spirit and intent of the Declaration to
protect the rights of migrant workers, we calls on all ASEAN member states to ratify and
implement the above-mentioned international instruments that provide protection to

Statement adopted at the ASETUC/Task Force on Migrant Workers Workshop, KL, 28 March 2007   Page 2
irregular and undocumented migrant workers, and members of migrant workers'

13. We notes that the Declaration is an important first step and we urge the ASEAN
member states, in line with Principle 22 of the Declaration, to take effective and timely
steps to implement a binding instrument on the promotion and protection of the rights of
migrant workers in the region. In line with the spirit of the Declaration, we believe that
such an instrument should include fundamental human and labour rights standards, and
that its scope should be extended to include all migrant workers, including workers from
non-ASEAN countries and those who are in irregular or undocumented situations.

14. We stand ready to cooperate with the Governments and the Secretariat of ASEAN to
advance the effective implementation of the aspirations and commitments of this
Declaration. In particular, we re-commit ourselves to rapidly and effective developing,
through a participatory process, a draft ASEAN Framework for the Protection and
Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in line with the requirements of the
Vientiane Action Plan. We also look forward to working with ASEAN in the coming
days, weeks and months ahead to develop an effective and binding multilateral
instrument which will serve as an important pillar of the people-centered ASEAN, true
to the principle of "One Caring and Sharing Community", to which we all aspire.

15. We believe that developing an ASEAN Framework for the Protection and
Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers will complement the Initiative for ASEAN
Integration (IAI) and the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). Quite
clearly, significant differences in the levels of economic development among ASEAN
member states and the continued persistence of poverty in some nations naturally
prompt people to seek better economic opportunities and livelihoods by crossing borders.
Not surprisingly, then, labour mobility has increasingly become a component of
integration as barriers are being removed to facilitate freer movement of capital, goods,
services and technology. If handled correctly, labour mobility can help reduce the
development gap provided that it is based on equality of treatment, non-discrimination,
and protection of labour rights of migrant workers. By providing much-needed labour to
the economy of the receiving country, and sending remittances back to their home
country, migrants provide direct benefits that assist in the development of both countries,
and help reduce gaps in the level of economic development within ASEAN.

16. Our determined coalition of advocates for migrants in ASEAN links an expansive
network of civil society organizations with years of experience in migration issues in
Asia with the organized strength of the rank and file national and regional trade union
organizations. We believe our strength will continue to grow to meet the challenge
before us.

17. The years of 2007-2008 will be decisive for forging the protection framework for
migrants that will fulfil the ASEAN vision of a “sharing and caring Community” which
offers so much promise to a better world in our national, regional and local communities
for all persons living here.

18. Migrants in ASEAN have struggled for far too long for their rights to be respected in
our region – we will allow them to be ignored no longer. We hereby pledge that together
we will undertake to conduct advocacy, implement activities, and provide services that

Statement adopted at the ASETUC/Task Force on Migrant Workers Workshop, KL, 28 March 2007   Page 3
will result in the protection and empowerment of all migrant workers throughout the
nations of ASEAN.

Statement adopted at the ASETUC/Task Force on Migrant Workers Workshop, KL, 28 March 2007   Page 4

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