MANILA, 21 September 2018 – ASEAN representatives concluded the 2-day Regional Multi-Stakeholders Forum: Responsible Business Conduct for Safe Labour Migration in ASEAN in Manila on 20 September.

Nearly 90 participants exchanged views on ways to promote safety and well-being of workers throughout migration cycle, decent work of women migrant workers, fair recruitment, corporate social responsibility, meaningful social dialogue, and stakeholder engagement.

The participants represented ASEAN ministries in charge of migration and people trafficking, ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights, migrant workers’ organisations, employers’ associations, recruitment agencies, trade unions, women’s groups, civil society organisations, and think-tanks.

Speaking at the forum, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee acknowledged that mobility of workers was an inevitable phenomenon in the ASEAN Community, and private companies, being the main employers, were at the centre of it. “There are many private companies in our region that need migrant workers for sustainability of their business. Responsible business conduct should therefore be promoted for the welfare and safety of migrant workers. Decent work conditions are both human rights and key to productivity,” he said.

Participants acknowledged that there were mutual reinforcement between ASEAN frameworks such as ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers; ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; ASEAN Guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibilities on Labour; ASEAN Human Rights Declaration; and global frameworks especially Sustainable Development Goals and the soon-to-be-adopted Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

They also agreed that greater alignment and synchronisation between the global and regional frameworks should be promoted for greater impact and efficiency toward migration that benefits all.

“The forum will help ASEAN Member States in ensuring the cycle of migration are regularised, humane, inclusive, and based on the fundamental principles of decent work. The only way forward is to unite as one regional community,” Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III of Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines underlined. “The Forum will help ASEAN Member States in ensuring the cycle of migration are regularised, humane, inclusive, and based on the fundamental principles of decent work. The only way forward is to unite as one regional Community.”

The forum was hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat to follow up the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers signed at the 31st ASEAN Summit last year. It was supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation – Global Programme Migration and Development (SDC GPMD), International Organization for Migration, International Labour Organization, UN Women, and ASEAN CSR Network.

***