The seeds of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration were planted in Manila in 2007, when Migrant Forum in Asia and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized an informal workshop for parliamentarians, entitled “Labour Migration in Southeast Asia: What Role for Parliamentarians?” This initial program brought together members of parliamentary, parliamentary staff, CSO representatives, and academe from across Southeast Asia.
Following this initial meeting, annual non-partisan parliamentarian gatherings have been organized in Singapore (2008), Bangkok (2009), Hanoi (2010), and Cambodia (2011) as parallel processes to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), which does not have a separate ad hoc committee to address the issues of migrant workers in the region. A special gathering of parliamentarians was convened in May, 2011 in Manila as part of the lead-up to the ILC in Geneva, where tripartite deliberations resulted in Convention 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
At this year’s gathering in Phnom Penh, the assembled parliamentarians resolved to formalize the caucus, and have committed to pursuing common activities that go beyond annual information exchanges, aimed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers and members of their families. They also decided to expand the scope of the engagement beyond ASEAN/AIPA to include parliamentarians from South Asia.
The newly-formed caucus has the following core objectives:
- to promote the cause of migrant workers in our respective national parliaments
- to collectively engage at the regional and international levels in the development of agreements and legislation
- to acknowledge the need to consider national, economic, and human security in the management of migration issues
The activities of the newly formed caucus are to include:
- field visits to migrant worker communities in order to gain a more robust understanding of the lived realities of migrant workers and in order to bring attention to migrant worker issues in the country and region
- the organization of seminars on key issue areas in collaboration with CSOs, trade unions, and migrants’ rights advocates to share information
- inter-parliamentary exchange visits to raise the profile of the issues of migrant workers in Asia
- the exercise of parliamentary oversight functions to monitor the programs of national governments in line with local and national legislation relating to migrant workers
- the exploration of the possibility of the establishment of a common fund by sending and receiving countries to set up social safety mechanisms skills development programs
- urging national governments to ratify ILO Convention 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers, and to engage in parliamentary debate on the UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, as well as core conventions of the ILO, in particular Conventions 87 and 98, and migrant worker conventions, 97 and 143
- energetic consideration of other proposals/actions that would enhance the rights and welfare of migrant workers within the region