MOSCOW—Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s director general for ASEAN affairs said that Association of Southeast Asian Nations has temporarily set aside the adoption of a declaration on migrant workers’ protection at the organization’s ongoing summit, as the parties to the organization have failed to reach a consensus on the document’s terms.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has temporarily set aside the adoption of a declaration on migrant workers’ protection at the organization’s ongoing summit, as the parties to the organization have failed to reach a consensus on the document’s terms, Jose A.M. Tavares, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s director general for ASEAN affairs, said.
In recent months, Indonesia and the Philippines, two of the 10 ASEAN member states, have been campaigning for the adoption of a document on migrant workers’ protection, since both nations are the main sources of workers for other ASEAN members, such as Malaysia and Brunei, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported.
“We hope to conclude the instrument in the coming months, so that it can be tapped as an outcome document at the November leaders’ summit,” Tavares said on Thursday, as quoted by the newspaper.
Because of its initial push for the adoption of a legally binding protection instrument, Jakarta now has to revise the document. However, according to the newspaper, the initiative did not receive support from other members of the bloc, with even Manila abandoning the plan.
“The issue will [be discussed] beyond the upcoming ASEAN summit, even though there will still be a statement pushing for its adoption by year’s end,” the Indonesian official added.
Tavares said that the ASEAN labor ministers will meet in May to discuss the issue in detail.
Some six million Indonesians and over ten million Filipinos are working overseas, according to the statistics of the Red Cross Red Crescent.
The migrant workers often fall victim to abuse, human trafficking, and enslavement. According to the United Nations, victims of human trafficking can be found in 106 countries. Globally, the United Nations has reported 21 million people who suffer from the forced labor and extreme exploitation in which criminal enterprises yield annual profits of USD150 billion.
ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization, which brings together 10 countries in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Together, ASEAN nations would rank as the world’s seventh largest economy. On Wednesday, a 30th ASEAN summit kicked off in Manila and is expected to conclude on Saturday.