PH stresses multilateral approach in protecting ASEAN migrant workers

A multilateral approach in protecting migrant workers in the Southeast Asian region is needed to improve labor migration, a foreign affairs executive stressed.

(Jansen Romero/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Enrico T. Fos called for a multilateral approach in migration management in the region during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in Indonesia last Nov. 1

Fos emphasized that "while countries have their respective best practices in protecting the rights of migrant workers, there is a need for it to be complemented and balanced with other countries’ best practices and experiences."

He also encouraged continued cooperation between and among countries of origin, transit, and destination during the regional consultation.

The foreign affairs official urged ASEAN member states to consider and include the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) in the AICHR study, and for it to be used as a tool in improving labor migration management and governance.

Even as expert panelists highlighted that the AICHR study complements existing ASEAN initiatives on the rights of migrant workers, Fos pointed out that, "as a parallel objective, UN agencies such as the International Labor Organization, UN Women, United Nations Development Program, and International Organization for Migration have initiatives (including BRIDGE Program, Ship to Shore Rights Southeast Asia Program, and Safe & Fair: Realizing Women Migrant Workers’ Rights and Opportunities in the ASEAN Region Program, among others) which ASEAN could integrate in its migration management efforts."

The regional consultation aimed to provide a platform for migration experts and representatives from government, universities, think tanks, and civil society organizations in ASEAN to provide constructive inputs and comments to the “AICHR Study on Migration and Human Rights: Migration Management for the Most Vulnerable Groups within ASEAN.”

The finalization of the AICHR Study shows the importance of promoting safe and orderly migration, particularly the vulnerable groups in Southeast Asia and improving the labor migration process and ASEAN’s regional cooperation.