31st ASEAN Summit : ‘We will protect the rights of migrant workers’

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MANILA, Nov 14- On the final day of the 31st ASEAN Summit, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed a landmark treaty to protect the rights of migrant workers which shall serve as a framework for cooperation in safeguarding the interests and welfare of millions of migrant workers in the region, as reported by ABS CBN News.  The signing of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers upholds fair treatment of migrant workers with respect to gender and nationality, provides for visitation rights by family members, prohibits confiscation of passports, and overcharging of placement or recruitment fees. It also protects against violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, regulates recruiters for better protection of workers, and respects their right to fair and appropriate remuneration and benefits and their right to join trade unions and associations. The Asean consensus, which is non-legally binding, would be subject to the respective laws of each member country.

ABS CBN News said that Labor Chief Silvestre H. Bello  III  lauded the signing of the pact and Overseas workers’ rights advocate Susan Ople hailed also the signing of the pact. “This is the first time that the ASEAN community has agreed to have an  action plan,” she said of the agreement that took a decade to reach.  Philippine government data show that a total of 212,435 Filipino migrant workers are employed in different countries across Southeast Asia.