Migrant Forum in Asia

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Gulf Countries: Increase Migrant Worker Protection

Gulf, Asian Labor Ministers at 3rd Abu Dhabi Dialogue

Human Rights Watch Press Release

23 November 2014

(Kuwait) – Labor ministers from Gulf and Asian countries meeting on November 26 and 27, 2014, should improve labor law protection, reform abusive immigration policies, and increase dialogue with trade unions and nongovernmental groups, 90 human rights organizations and unions said today.

Millions of contract workers from Asia and Africa, including an estimated 2.4 million domestic workers in the Gulf, are subject to a wide range of abuses, including unpaid wages, confiscation of passports, physical abuse, and forced labor.

“Whether it’s the scale of abuse of domestic workers hidden from public view or the shocking death toll among construction workers, the plight of migrants in the Gulf demands urgent and profound reform,” said Rothna Begum, Middle East women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This should include a thorough overhaul of the abusive kafala visa sponsorship system.”

The ministers will meet in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, an inter-regional forum on labor migration between Asian countries of origin and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of destination. Nongovernmental groups participated in the first two rounds but were not invited to this year’s gathering. Labor ministers from the GCC states are to meet separately on November 23 to discuss a draft domestic workers contract and the proposed formation of a cross-GCC body to oversee migrant domestic work.


Civil Society Contributions to the Special Rapporteur’s Report to the UN Human Rights Council on Migrant Labour Recruitment

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants will dedicate one of his 2016 reports to the Human Rights Council on international labour recruitment. His office requested inputs from civil society to contribute to the substance and analysis of his report.

In response, the Open Working Group circulated a call for inputs among its membership and hosted online discussions via email, online forums, Facebook, and Twitter. The inputs collected from this online membership consultation, along with the results of previous consultations of Migrant Forum in Asia, Migrants Rights International, and the Global Coalition on Migration, have been aggregated into a full report to the Special Rapporteur. The report outlines our emerging analysis and recommendations on migrant labour recruitment from CSO and migrant community perspectives.

Read the full report here.


Defamation charge against Andy Hall dismissed by court due to unlawful interrogation process

Finnwatch press release
29 October 2014

The Prakanong Court in Bangkok dismissed defamation charges brought against Andy Hall by Natural Fruit Company Ltd, a pineapple export factory. Natural Fruit has launched multiple criminal and civil prosecution against the researcher and activist since February 2013 as a result of his contribution to a Finnwatch report published in 2013. The report revealed serious human rights violations at Natural Fruit's pineapple juice production facilities.

According to the court decision the charge is dismissed due to unlawful interrogation process under section 120 of the criminal procedure code.


Report: Migrant Worker s’ Rights Program - Lessons Learned 2004 - 2014

This report reflects on the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) and Migrant Forum Asia’s (MFA) activities to build the capacity of advocates for the rights of migrant workers in Asia and the Middle East since 2004. Each year from 2004, DTP and MFA have organized human rights advocacy training programs for members of MFA networks and other individuals committed to promoting respect for the rights of migrant workers.

What began as a shared idea and commitment, and a single program in 2004, has continued for 10 years and provided training for over 300 individuals working for migrant workers’ rights.

To read the full report, please click here, or visit the DTP website to learn more about capacity building initiatives with MFA on the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.

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MFA Partners

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