ASEAN Consensus on migrant workers rights, protection signed

Labor groups cheer as Du30 confirms 'landmark' ASEAN document on migrant workers to be signed

Labor groups cheer as Du30 confirms 'landmark' ASEAN document on migrant workers to be signed

ASEAN leaders today signed a consensus on the protection and promotion of rights of migrant workers aimed at safeguarding millions of migrant workers across Southeast Asia.

Duterte, this year's ASEAN chairman, presented the signed document to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh during the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, which coincides with the golden anniversary of the regional bloc held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

The leaders signed the agreement a decade after the signing of the Cebu declaration on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers.

The bloc identified the protection of migrant workers' rights as one vital measure to help bring forth a secure and prosperous ASEAN community.

Among the provisions of the landmark document are: upholding fair treatment of migrant workers, granting visitation rights by family members, and prohibiting the seizure of passports.

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"Given the enormous security and economic challenges confronting our allies in the Middle East, this consensus agreement shows that next to working within our borders, the next best thing may be to encourage our OFWs to look within our own region for legitimate jobs through proper, legal channels". "Nevertheless, our journey and struggle continue, because we also need to get foreign employers and foreign recruitment agencies to cooperate in turning these consensus points into reality".

The Asean consensus, which is non-legally binding, would be subject to the respective laws each member country.

As for the workers' group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), the agreement was a positive step towards improved working conditions for migrant workers.

According to the World Bank, almost seven million or two-thirds of about 10 million global migrants living and working in Asean come from the region.

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