The Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration met for the 7th consecutive year in Bangkok, Thailand on November 22-24th, 2013. The conference was organized by Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Friedrich‐Ebert‐Stiftung (FES), Congressional Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs (COWA), and UN Women for the convening of the largest parliamentary conference since its inception in 2007.
Fifty participants were brought together that included current and former parliamentarians, legislative staff, select civil society, a trade union representative and a small group of high level resource speakers. The meeting drew on the expertise and experience from Members of Parliament from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore for a lively conference.
The Caucus meeting focused on Gender-Responsive Social Protection for Migrant Workers. Resource speakers and participants explored the different ways in which migrant women experience migration and the role Parliamentarians have in this process. Sessions by expert resource speakers included the discussion of gender and mobility rights, access to justice, and gender based violence.
There is an urgent need to focus on this issue, as migrant women workers fall outside of social protection schemes in receiving countries. This is largely because migrant women are predominantly employed in the low skilled, informal sector, usually void of protection of benefits. Throughout the program, there was a particular focus on the need to better protect the rights of migrant domestic workers.
Dispersed throughout the two day program were presentations by parliamentarians on the topic of social protection in their countries. Their presentations of challenges, best practices and recommendations around social protection contributed greatly to the final resolution drawn. In the final caucus Resolution, parliamentarians made the call for the ratification of international instruments, such as ILO C189 and the Migrant Workers Convention (1990). There was also a call to conduct extensive research on the experiences of women migrant workers to better guide policy formulation. Please see the link below to the resolution for more details.
After a consensus in 2012 by the parliamentarians to form an Advisory Group to the caucus was formalized, a separate meeting was held on November 24th. The advisory group are Parliamentarians from Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India. The Advisory group has the following responsibilities:
- The advisory group will work with the Migrant Forum in Asia Secretariat (MFA) and its partners in drafting a program of action drawn by the Caucus.
- The advisory group will promote the objectives and program of the caucus to intergovernmental processes at the national and international level. This will include engaging with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
- The advisory group will identify and invite additional parliamentarians for the Caucus.
- The advisory group will strategize on ways to increase the visibility of the parliamentarians’ caucus at the national and international levels.
- The advisory group will meet annually.