Sunday, October 23, 2011

Groups working for Foreign Domestic Workers Recommendations to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (21/10/2011)

Foreign Domestic Workers Recommendations to the
ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (21/10/2011)

We, the migrant domestic workers groups, NGOs and regional networks, present our recommendations to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on the rights of all women foreign domestic workers, documented and undocumented.

Firstly, we would like to express our appreciation for the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. However, we are concerned that large numbers of migrants are currently excluded from its protection and therefore strongly urge the inclusion of undocumented migrants and families of all migrants.

We call on AICHR to inform all ASEAN member states of the critical importance of the ILO Convention and Recommendations concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers (No 189) particularly Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma and Singapore, and to persuade all ASEAN member states to ratify the Convention within the coming year.

We express our disappointment over the slow pace by which ASEAN member states are ratifying the UN International Convention for the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990). We therefore urge AICHR to persuade ASEAN Member States, especially destination countries to also immediately ratify this International Convention.

Following our consultations, we also make the following recommendations. We strongly urge AICHR:

1. To promote the reform of national laws of all ASEAN member states and all regional policies and regulations to recognise domestic work as work.

2. To support the development of mechanisms which provide access to justice for migrants across and beyond borders. These would include among other specialised services, interpretation services, legal assistance, and temporary shelters and the right of migrants to stay and work during legal process.

3. To work with governments to develop social security systems which include migrants.

4. To uphold migrants’ rights to decent work, including the right to change employers, to just wages, to maternity leave, to healthcare and to rest days.

5. To establish national and regional mechanisms and bodies to help ensure that policies and legislation comply with international treaties/conventions.

6. Regarding the recruitment and employment processes, to work towards the abolition of labour outsourcing companies, recruitment agencies and labour suppliers. To ensure employment relationship be by direct hiring[1] that is most beneficial to migrant workers.

7. To ensure that all ASEAN member states provide equal and adequate access to health care and treatment for migrants and their families and remove all mandatory health and pregnancy testing and immediately call a halt to the practice of terminating employment contracts and deporting migrant workers based on health and/or pregnancy status.

8. To promote and protect migrants’ rights to mobility and freedom of movement.

9. To promote and protect migrants’ rights to organize and freedom of association.

10. Arrest, detention and deportation for immigration irregularities should be avoided where possible, but in cases where deportation of migrants is carried out, we call on AICHR to monitor the process to ensure the dignity and safety of migrants during these processes.

11. AICHR and ASEAN member states must ensure the right of every migrant to hold their own passport and documents (travel, identity cards, work permits, contract, etc.). To ensure migrants’ right to be heard and due process. There should not be any termination or cancelation of visas and other legal documents without the presence of the holder (migrant).

12. To ensure that migrants who have been trafficked are entitled to protection and empowerment services. There should be no deportation or detention of victims of trafficking, witnesses and other migrants affected by raids. AICHR and ASEAN member states should ensure the victim’s right to stay and work and ensure their access to adequate remedies and compensation.

13. Lastly, we call on AICHR to urge ASEAN member states to promote women’s livelihood options both at home and abroad, and to ensure that women have access to education and resources and choices in employment.

On behalf of:

United Foreign Domestic Workers Rights
ACHIEVE (Action for Health Initiative) (Philippines)
CARAM Cambodia
Solidaritas Perempuan (Indonesia)
Workers Hub for Change
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
MAP Foundation, Thailand
Mekong Migration Network
INDIES (Indonesia)
ATKI (Indonesia)
Asian Migrants Coordinating Body
Human Rights Working Group (Indonesia)

For further information, please contact:
Ms Khairiah Makata
Phone: +603 2282 7708; +603 2282 1669

Ms Huong Tran
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

[1] ‘Direct hiring’ is defined as the direct employment relationship between employers (owner/operator/end-user /principal employers) AND workers to the exclusion of third parties including labour suppliers.

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