Today, 18 December 2013, we, the members of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration, express our solidarity to all migrant workers and members of their families across the globe in celebrating the International Migrants’ Day.
On 22-23 November 2013 in Bangkok, the Caucus was convened for the seventh consecutive year to renew our commitment to advocate for the protection of the human and labour rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families.
Currently, there are approximately 232 million international migrants; the majority of this number consists of labour migrants (United Nations, September 2013). The magnitude of this number demonstrates the global shift of movement taking place which requires a paradigm shift and change on governance structure. States must reformulate their stance on migration to ensure that all human and labour rights standards are upheld, promoted and respected. Migrant workers not only contribute economically to countries of origin and destination but also enrich both countries by sharing cultural practices and values. However, despite these important and positive contributions of migrant workers to our society, there remain constant and systemic human rights violations against the migrant community on a global level.
This year saw many challenges in the struggle for migrant workers’ rights. The Malaysian Government implemented its largest crackdown to date on an estimated half a million undocumented migrant workers in the country. In the Philippines, the issue of sexual abuses perpetuated by mission’s staff against distressed migrant workers is currently being investigated in Parliament. We have also witnessed the plight of the Indonesian domestic worker Wilfrida Soik who is currently on trial in Malaysia for the alleged murder of her employer. The trial highlighted the abuse faced by Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Malaysia and prompted the Indonesian government to ban the deployment of migrant domestic workers to Malaysia. In 2013, we also witnessed the abuses faced by migrant workers in the construction industry in Qatar. The year 2013 also highlighted the forced repatriation of undocumented workers at the end of the amnesty programs of the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
The Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus with strong indignation and deep concern over the systemic human and labour rights violations committed against migrant workers, call on the following:
Governments to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants and Members of Their Families (Migrant Workers Convention) and other human rights instruments including ILO Conventions 97 (Migrant for Employment Convention), 143 (Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention) and 189 (Domestic Workers Convention)
Governments to enact, harmonize and implement existing national legislations to support the ratification of these conventions, and to create monitoring mechanisms to ensure the implementation of such policies as well as support for shadow reporting from civil society or other groups;
Governments to expand and extend gender-responsive legislation and programmes on social security coverage and portability to all migrant workers with special attention to women migrant workers and other workers in precarious job occupations, and to facilitate their right to organize or join trade unions;
States to enact gender -responsive policies and programmes;
Relevant government institutions, especially their officials who are stationed or posted at their embassies and other offices abroad, to take greater responsibility for the protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of migrant workers, especially women, and for these government institutions to work with civil society to develop gender sensitive migration training programs for their government officials;
Governments of origin countries to ensure that the right of suffrage of migrant workers and their families is respected and upheld;
States to enter into government-to-government agreements that take into account the rights and protection of migrant workers and ensure that these agreements are made in consultation with civil society actors. Further, these agreements should ensure the inclusion of social protection and gender-responsive provisions.
The Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration met for the 7th consecutive year on November 22-23, 2013 in Bangkok, renewing their mandate to protect the rights of migrant workers in Asia. This year the conference focused specifically on gender responsive social protection for migrant workers. After an animated two day conference, a resolution was formalized. This resolution made the universal call to ratify CILO 189 on Domestic Workers, the Migrant Workers Convention of 1990, the call to review National labour laws and ensure that they extend protection to migrant workers within the country. The caucus also resolved to conduct extensive research on women migrant workers, as to better guide policy formulation. You may read this here: