ASEAN Framework Instrument is a must for the protection of the rights of migrant workers

Global crises, rx regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets

* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors

 

You can jump from chapter to chapter clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the video.


 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Global crises, regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia, mind Africa, site Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets

* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors


 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Global crises, remedy regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia,
Africa, nurse Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets
* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors


You can jump from chapter to chapter clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the video.

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Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Global crises, regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia, view Africa, sovaldi Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets

* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors

 

You can jump from chapter to chapter clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the video.

 


 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Global crises, regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets

* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors

You can jump from chapter to chapter clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the video. You will see the arrows, only after you start playing.

 


 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Global crises, salve healing regional solutions

Perspectives from Asia, ambulance Africa, illness Latin America and Europe

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from across the globe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets

* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors


You can jump from chapter to chapter clicking on the arrows at the bottom of the video. You will see the arrows, only after you start playing.

 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

If you would like to order a copy, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers

Immediate Release: 23 April 2012

ASEAN Framework Instrument is a must for the protection of the rights of migrant workers in the face of widespread migrant protests in Thailand

Recent strikes in two large international export processing companies in Thailand, prostate the Phatthana Seafood Co and Vita Food Factory, troche have again exposed harsh and exploitative realities of the lives of thousands of migrant workers, both document and undocumented, from Myanmar and Cambodia. These strikes also unveiled large scale involvement of unregulated and abusive trafficking agents and brokers in supplying labour to these and other factories across the ASEAN region. In recent days, strikes by migrant workers in Thailand are becoming more widespread as a result of employers seeking to avoid paying migrant workers higher wages in line with the recent  increase in Thailand’s minimum wage.

The Phattana seafood plant in Songkla and Vita food factory in Kanchanaburi employed some undocumented migrant workers, who were particularly vulnerable to abuses that could be classified as trafficking. Even those documented migrant workers in Phattana who came to Thailand through formal channels alleged that the company confiscated their passports, forced them into a situation of debt bondage and paid them barely enough to secure adequate food for their survival.   These are clear violations of Thai labor law as well as the contracts the migrant workers signed when they were recruited by manpower agencies in Cambodia and Myanmar. 
 
The Vita Food Factory in Kanchanaburi employs 7,000 workers, mostly from Myanmar, and approximately 1,000 are undocumented. The documented workers with work permits paid brokers 5,500 baht for those documents although the official fee is 3,800 baht. More than 4,000 migrant workers protested at the pineapple factory (Vita Food) demanding an increase in their  daily wage to bring it into compliance with the recently increased minimum wage. The workers allege that the employer withheld food allowances and changed payment terms in an effort to reduce payments to workers under the increased minimum wage enacted by the Royal Thai Government (RTG) starting from 1st April 2012.

Most migrants from Thailand’s neighbouring countries enter Thailand without documentation, but they are permitted to work temporarily in a “pending deportation” status set out by the Royal Thai Government (RTG). In recent years, many of these workers have become regularised and there has been an increase in legal import of workers into Thailand as well.  But the TFAMW continues however to be deeply concerned for the more then 2 million migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos working in Thailand in exploitative conditions. We urge the RTG to investigate abuses against migrants, ensure pay and working conditions meet all applicable labour laws, and play a positive role in assisting negotiations with protesting migrant workers in any and all factories where workers are protesting in Thailand at this time.

Unilateral and Bilateral policies are ineffective and weak in implementation

The TFAMW urges Thailand to recognize and take action to solve these problems facing Cambodian and Myanmar workers living and working in Thailand. 

Ø       The RTG, and especially the Ministry of Labor, should significantly increase penalties against employers who seize migrant workers’ identity documents and should publicly campaign among Thai employers to ensure that they understand confiscation/holding of documents will not be tolerated.
Ø       The RTG’s Ministry of Labor should carry out a comprehensive investigation of the situation in Phatthana seafood and Vita food factories, and make that report public.
Ø       Thailand should ensure effective implementation of the 2008 Anti-Trafficking Law and improve coordination with Cambodia and Myanmar governments and civil society advocates in cases of cross-border trafficking, including reinvigorating the implementation of the bilateral anti-trafficking agreements with Cambodia and Myanmar. 
Ø       Thailand should ensure the effective operation of five additional new nationality verification centers based in Thailand which will enable Myanmar migrant workers to regularize their status. However, urgent solutions must be devised to also protect the rights of the more than one million undocumented Myanmar migrants working within Thailand
Ø       Thailand should conduct a comprehensive public relations campaign to inform employers of migrant workers that they must comply with increased minimum wage provisions and scrupulously follow all aspects of Thai labor law. 
Ø       Thailand should ensure that migrant workers are permitted to join and receive benefits from the Workman’s Compensation Fund, and order the Social Security Officer (SSO) to ensure all are treated equally, regardless of national origin, in receipt of benefits. 

Regional Framework Instrument to ensure basic human and labour rights are respected

ASEAN urgently needs to adopt a binding Regional Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and include ASEAN civil society groups on discussions about the Framework Instrument.  The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, which was adopted  at the 12th ASEAN Summit in 2007 in Cebu, the Philippines, clearly urges (in article 22 of the Declaration) that the ASEAN governments to negotiate and elaborate an ASEAN Framework Instrument.  However, to date, this Framework Instrument effort has been slowed by obstructionist tactics of labour receiving countries, and raises serious concerns about the commitment of labor-receiving countries to protect migrant workers’ rights. 

As ASEAN evolves into an integrated economic community in 2015, a major challenge will be to draft, agree, and effectively implement a legally binding ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The 2007 ASEAN Declaration details the responsibilities of ASEAN Member States to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers and members of their families during the entire migration process. ASEAN Member States are also required to consult and cooperate with a view to promoting decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers. This is affirmed in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015).

The ASEAN Committee of Migrant Workers (ACMW) had their Drafting Meeting on the ASEAN Framework Instrument (Agreement) in Singapore on 3-4 April 2012. The ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement noted:  “59. We welcomed the convening of the 22nd ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) in May 2012, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We tasked the ASEAN Labour Ministers to continue their work to implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, including to take a phased approach in the development of an ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the region, starting by focusing on issues which are comfortable with ASEAN Member States, in line with existing national law and/or policies, and in accordance with Cebu Declaration”.  The ACMW drafting team has phrased future discussion as follows: a) on documented migrant workers (2012), b) undocumented migrant workers (2013) and c) the legal character of the instrument (2015).

As ASEAN moves towards its goal of economic integration by 2015, it is both important and timely that these processes to draft an agreement to protect for migrant workers moves forward rapidly also. The TFAMW believes that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached among ASEAN member states which will ensure that migrant workers are given a fair deal, their rights are protected and they are provided with effective protection mechanisms, in accordance with the vision of ASEAN as a sharing and caring community in which all persons are valued.

The TFAMW believes that respect for the fundamental human rights of migrant workers is central to the protection of their labour rights and welfare. TFAMW encourages the ACMW Drafting Team to consider the proposal of ASEAN civil society organizations for a comprehensive and binding ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The TFAMW Civil Society proposal, drawn up in a participatory manner with dozens of civil society groups coming out, contains possible elements for the government proposed ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The drafting team of the ACMW should be encouraged to refer to our Framework Instrument frequently in forthcoming deliberations and to freely use the recommendations made therein.

Full Resource Book: Civil Society Proposal: ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers
http://www.workersconnection.org/resources/Resources_72/book_tf-amw_feb2010.pdf

For further information:

Sinapan Samydorai, Convener – Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers
website: http://www.workersconnection.org
Email: samysd@yahoo.com
Mobile: + 65 9479 1906

The Charter of Social Movements of the Americas, diagnosis approved in Belem do Para during the World Social Forum, decease constitutes an initiative that deserves all the attention and support of the movements, prescription networks, and organizations committed to the present and to the future of our peoples.  The charter calls for integration from below, using as a reference the principles of ALBA (The Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean).

 

Read the full article here.

Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers

Immediate Release: 23 April 2012

ASEAN Framework Instrument is a must for the protection of the rights of migrant workers in the face of widespread migrant protests in Thailand

Recent strikes in two large international export processing companies in Thailand, the Phatthana Seafood Co and Vita Food Factory, have again exposed harsh and exploitative realities of the lives of thousands of migrant workers, pilule both document and undocumented, from Myanmar and Cambodia. These strikes also unveiled large scale involvement of unregulated and abusive trafficking agents and brokers in supplying labour to these and other factories across the ASEAN region. In recent days, strikes by migrant workers in Thailand are becoming more widespread as a result of employers seeking to avoid paying migrant workers higher wages in line with the recent  increase in Thailand’s minimum wage.

The Phattana seafood plant in Songkla and Vita food factory in Kanchanaburi employed some undocumented migrant workers, who were particularly vulnerable to abuses that could be classified as trafficking. Even those documented migrant workers in Phattana who came to Thailand through formal channels alleged that the company confiscated their passports, forced them into a situation of debt bondage and paid them barely enough to secure adequate food for their survival.   These are clear violations of Thai labor law as well as the contracts the migrant workers signed when they were recruited by manpower agencies in Cambodia and Myanmar. 
 
The Vita Food Factory in Kanchanaburi employs 7,000 workers, mostly from Myanmar, and approximately 1,000 are undocumented. The documented workers with work permits paid brokers 5,500 baht for those documents although the official fee is 3,800 baht. More than 4,000 migrant workers protested at the pineapple factory (Vita Food) demanding an increase in their  daily wage to bring it into compliance with the recently increased minimum wage. The workers allege that the employer withheld food allowances and changed payment terms in an effort to reduce payments to workers under the increased minimum wage enacted by the Royal Thai Government (RTG) starting from 1st April 2012.

Most migrants from Thailand’s neighbouring countries enter Thailand without documentation, but they are permitted to work temporarily in a “pending deportation” status set out by the Royal Thai Government (RTG). In recent years, many of these workers have become regularised and there has been an increase in legal import of workers into Thailand as well.  But the TFAMW continues however to be deeply concerned for the more then 2 million migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos working in Thailand in exploitative conditions. We urge the RTG to investigate abuses against migrants, ensure pay and working conditions meet all applicable labour laws, and play a positive role in assisting negotiations with protesting migrant workers in any and all factories where workers are protesting in Thailand at this time.

Unilateral and Bilateral policies are ineffective and weak in implementation

The TFAMW urges Thailand to recognize and take action to solve these problems facing Cambodian and Myanmar workers living and working in Thailand. 

Ø       The RTG, and especially the Ministry of Labor, should significantly increase penalties against employers who seize migrant workers’ identity documents and should publicly campaign among Thai employers to ensure that they understand confiscation/holding of documents will not be tolerated.
Ø       The RTG’s Ministry of Labor should carry out a comprehensive investigation of the situation in Phatthana seafood and Vita food factories, and make that report public.
Ø       Thailand should ensure effective implementation of the 2008 Anti-Trafficking Law and improve coordination with Cambodia and Myanmar governments and civil society advocates in cases of cross-border trafficking, including reinvigorating the implementation of the bilateral anti-trafficking agreements with Cambodia and Myanmar. 
Ø       Thailand should ensure the effective operation of five additional new nationality verification centers based in Thailand which will enable Myanmar migrant workers to regularize their status. However, urgent solutions must be devised to also protect the rights of the more than one million undocumented Myanmar migrants working within Thailand
Ø       Thailand should conduct a comprehensive public relations campaign to inform employers of migrant workers that they must comply with increased minimum wage provisions and scrupulously follow all aspects of Thai labor law. 
Ø       Thailand should ensure that migrant workers are permitted to join and receive benefits from the Workman’s Compensation Fund, and order the Social Security Officer (SSO) to ensure all are treated equally, regardless of national origin, in receipt of benefits. 

Regional Framework Instrument to ensure basic human and labour rights are respected

ASEAN urgently needs to adopt a binding Regional Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and include ASEAN civil society groups on discussions about the Framework Instrument.  The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, which was adopted  at the 12th ASEAN Summit in 2007 in Cebu, the Philippines, clearly urges (in article 22 of the Declaration) that the ASEAN governments to negotiate and elaborate an ASEAN Framework Instrument.  However, to date, this Framework Instrument effort has been slowed by obstructionist tactics of labour receiving countries, and raises serious concerns about the commitment of labor-receiving countries to protect migrant workers’ rights. 

As ASEAN evolves into an integrated economic community in 2015, a major challenge will be to draft, agree, and effectively implement a legally binding ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The 2007 ASEAN Declaration details the responsibilities of ASEAN Member States to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers and members of their families during the entire migration process. ASEAN Member States are also required to consult and cooperate with a view to promoting decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers. This is affirmed in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015).

The ASEAN Committee of Migrant Workers (ACMW) had their Drafting Meeting on the ASEAN Framework Instrument (Agreement) in Singapore on 3-4 April 2012. The ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement noted:  “59. We welcomed the convening of the 22nd ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) in May 2012, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We tasked the ASEAN Labour Ministers to continue their work to implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, including to take a phased approach in the development of an ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the region, starting by focusing on issues which are comfortable with ASEAN Member States, in line with existing national law and/or policies, and in accordance with Cebu Declaration”.  The ACMW drafting team has phrased future discussion as follows: a) on documented migrant workers (2012), b) undocumented migrant workers (2013) and c) the legal character of the instrument (2015).

As ASEAN moves towards its goal of economic integration by 2015, it is both important and timely that these processes to draft an agreement to protect for migrant workers moves forward rapidly also. The TFAMW believes that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached among ASEAN member states which will ensure that migrant workers are given a fair deal, their rights are protected and they are provided with effective protection mechanisms, in accordance with the vision of ASEAN as a sharing and caring community in which all persons are valued.

The TFAMW believes that respect for the fundamental human rights of migrant workers is central to the protection of their labour rights and welfare. TFAMW encourages the ACMW Drafting Team to consider the proposal of ASEAN civil society organizations for a comprehensive and binding ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The TFAMW Civil Society proposal, drawn up in a participatory manner with dozens of civil society groups coming out, contains possible elements for the government proposed ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The drafting team of the ACMW should be encouraged to refer to our Framework Instrument frequently in forthcoming deliberations and to freely use the recommendations made therein.

Full Resource Book: Civil Society Proposal: ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers
http://www.workersconnection.org/resources/Resources_72/book_tf-amw_feb2010.pdf

For further information:

Sinapan Samydorai, Convener – Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers
website: http://www.workersconnection.org
Email: samysd@yahoo.com
Mobile: + 65 9479 1906

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