ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers


WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (hereinafter referred to as ASEAN), attending the 12th ASEAN Summit on 13 January 2007 in Cebu, Philippines;

RECALLING the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II adopted at the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, which stipulated the establishment of an ASEAN Community resting on three pillars: an ASEAN Security Community, an ASEAN Economic Community and an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community;

RECALLING also the Universal Declaration on Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly Resolution 217(A)(III) of 10 December 1948, as well as other appropriate international instruments which all the ASEAN Member Countries have acceded to, in order to safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

RECALLING further the Vientiane Action Programme adopted at the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR, which provides for, inter alia, the promotion of human rights and obligations to realise an open, dynamic and resilient ASEAN Community;

CONFIRMING our shared responsibility to realise a common vision for a secure and prosperous ASEAN Community by improving the quality of life of its people and strengthening its cultural identity towards a people-centered ASEAN through, among others, measures on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers;

RECOGNISING the contributions of migrant workers to the society and economy of both receiving states and sending states of ASEAN;

RECOGNISING further the sovereignty of states in determining their own migration policy relating to migrant workers, including determining entry into their territory and under which conditions migrant workers may remain;

ACKNOWLEDGING the legitimate concerns of the receiving and sending states over migrant workers, as well as the need to adopt appropriate and comprehensive migration policies on migrant workers;

ACKNOWLEDGING also the need to address cases of abuse and violence against migrant workers whenever such cases occur;

REITERATING that ASEAN should make further progress as a cohesive and caring society committed to enhancing the quality of life and well being of its people, especially those in the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors;

HEREBY DECLARE AS FOLLOWS:

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

1. Both the receiving states and sending states shall strengthen the political, economic and social pillars of the ASEAN Community by promoting the full potential and dignity of migrant workers in a climate of freedom, equity, and stability in accordance with the laws, regulations, and policies of respective ASEAN Member Countries;

2. The receiving states and the sending states shall, for humanitarian reasons, closely cooperate to resolve the cases of migrant workers who, through no fault of their own, have subsequently become undocumented;

3. The receiving states and the sending states shall take into account the fundamental rights and dignity of migrant workers and family members already residing with them without undermining the application by the receiving states of their laws, regulations and policies; and

4. Nothing in the present Declaration shall be interpreted as implying the regularisation of the situation of migrant workers who are undocumented.

OBLIGATIONS OF RECEIVING STATES

Pursuant to the prevailing laws, regulations and policies of the respective receiving states, the receiving states will:

5. Intensify efforts to protect the fundamental human rights, promote the welfare and uphold human dignity of migrant workers;

6. Work towards the achievement of harmony and tolerance between receiving states and migrant workers;

7. Facilitate access to resources and remedies through information, training and education, access to justice, and social welfare services as appropriate and in accordance with the legislation of the receiving state, provided that they fulfill the requirements under applicable laws, regulations and policies of the said state, bilateral agreements and multilateral treaties;

8. Promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages, and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers;

9. Provide migrant workers, who may be victims of discrimination, abuse, exploitation, violence, with adequate access to the legal and judicial system of the receiving states; and

10. Facilitate the exercise of consular functions to consular or diplomatic authorities of states of origin when a migrant worker is arrested or committed to prison or custody or detained in any other manner, under the laws and regulations of the receiving state and in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

OBLIGATIONS OF SENDING STATES

Pursuant to the prevailing laws, regulations and policies of the respective sending states, the sending states will:

11. Enhance measures related to the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers;

12. Ensure access to employment and livelihood opportunities for their citizens as sustainable alternatives to migration of workers;

13. Set up policies and procedures to facilitate aspects of migration of workers, including recruitment, preparation for deployment overseas and protection of the migrant workers when abroad as well as repatriation and reintegration to the countries of origin; and

14. Establish and promote legal practices to regulate recruitment of migrant workers and adopt mechanisms to eliminate recruitment malpractices through legal and valid contracts, regulation and accreditation of recruitment agencies and employers, and blacklisting of negligent/unlawful agencies.

COMMITMENTS BY ASEAN

For purposes of protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers, ASEAN Member Countries in accordance with national laws, regulations and policies, will:

15. Promote decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers;

16. Establish and implement human resource development programmes and reintegration programmes for migrant workers in their countries of origin;

17. Take concrete measures to prevent or curb the smuggling and trafficking in persons by, among others, introducing stiffer penalties for those who are involved in these activities;

18. Facilitate data-sharing on matters related to migrant workers, for the purpose of enhancing policies and programmes concerning migrant workers in both sending and receiving states;

19. Promote capacity building by sharing of information, best practices as well as opportunities and challenges encountered by ASEAN Member Countries in relation to protection and promotion of migrant workers' rights and welfare;

20. Extend assistance to migrant workers of ASEAN Member Countries who are caught in conflict or crisis situations outside ASEAN in the event of need and based on the capacities and resources of the Embassies and Consular Offices of the relevant ASEAN Member Countries, based on bilateral consultations and arrangements;

21. Encourage international organisations, ASEAN dialogue partners and other countries to respect the principles and extend support and assistance to the implementation of the measures contained in this Declaration; and

22. Task the relevant ASEAN bodies to follow up on the Declaration and to develop an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, consistent with ASEAN's vision of a caring and sharing Community, and direct the Secretary-General of ASEAN to submit annually a report on the progress of the implementation of the Declaration to the Summit through the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

DONE at Cebu, Philippines, this Thirteenth Day of January in the Year Two Thousand and Seven, in a single original copy in the English Language.

For Brunei Darussalam:

HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH

Sultan of Brunei Darussalam

For the Kingdom of Cambodia:

SAMDECH HUN SEN

Prime Minister

For the Republic of Indonesia:

DR. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO

President

For the Lao People's Democratic Republic:

BOUASONE BOUPHAVANH

Prime Minister

For Malaysia:

DATO' SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI

Prime Minister

For the Union of Myanmar:

GENERAL SOE WIN

Prime Minister

For the Republic of the Philippines:

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO

President

For the Republic of Singapore:

LEE HSIEN LOONG

Prime Minister

For the Kingdom of Thailand:

GENERAL SURAYUD CHULANONT (RET.)

Prime Minister

For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam:

NGUYEN TAN DUNG

Prime Minister