Asean moves to protect migrant workers' rights

U.S. State Department

U.S. State Department

Almost seven million or two-thirds of about 10 million global migrants living and working in Asean come from the region.

Leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday formally signed a consensus that would protect the rights of migrant workers.

Ople said the newly signed ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of Rights of Migrant Workers will enable the government to offer alternative job opportunities to OFWs in the Middle East in case the political tension in the said region escalates.

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

"Foremost in that action plan should be the prevention of abuse and exploitation of ASEAN migrant workers - from passport confiscation, debt bondage, to undercutting of salaries and sexual violence as well as human trafficking", she added.

"Meanwhile, efforts to initiate, enhance and strengthen bilateral labor arrangements can draw inspiration from this historic agreement".

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

"We commend President Rodrigo Duterte for putting in the forefront of the Summit the welfare of 10 million migrant workers in ASEAN by ensuring that the consensus is signed among the first in the order of business", Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of the ALU-TUCP said in a statement.

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