PHL diplomat is new UN chair on migrant workers

By , on April 20, 2016


The flag of the United Nations flies from a pole in front of UN Headquarters. (UN Photo/John Isaac)
The flag of the United Nations flies from a pole in front of UN Headquarters. (UN Photo/John Isaac)

MANILA – A senior Philippine diplomat was unanimously elected as chairman of a top United Nations post for the protection of migrant workers, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

Former Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jose Brillantes won as Chairman of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) at committee’s 24th session in Geneva, Switzerland, the DFA said. He will serve in the post until December 31, 2017.

Brillantes’ election, Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Cecilia Rebong said, “is a recognition of the high priority the Philippines places on protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of Filipino migrant workers.”

“This is an honor not only to Undersecretary Brillantes but also for the Philippines,” Rebong said.

The committee, comprised of 14 independent experts, monitors the implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of the Their Families by its State Parties.

Every year, hundreds of Filipino workers quietly leave their poor families and homes in tears in search of better opportunities in strange foreign lands, making them vulnerable to labor abuses, physical maltreatment and armed conflict in countries with ongoing civil strife.

Their struggling Southeast Asian nation calls them “modern-day heroes” for the often-meager earnings they send home that, collectively, keep the Philippine economy afloat and local business booming.