Migrant Forum in Asia

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Resource: Policy briefs on the role of missions and shelters

Migrant Forum in Asia issued new policy briefs which are useful for advancing migrants rights advocacy:

The role of missions in protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers

There is an evident gap between the perceptions of embassy officials and migrant communities with respect to the role of the foreign mission. Migrant communities and migrants rights advocates have long held that foreign missions must strengthen their presence, responses, and advocacy on behalf of their nationals, particularly when human rights violations occur.

Providing shelter for distressed migrant workers: A rights-based approach.

The shelter exists because of the real and stark human cost of labour migration and restrictive immigration systems for low-income international Asian migrant workers. Protection of migrant workers must ultimately begin with prevention of human and labour rights violations of all migrant workers, regardless of immigration status; so that the demand for shelters would be significantly diminished. Given the failure to protect migrant workers, rights-based shelters can provide migrant workers who have been exploited and abused with vital support and assistance. Ensuring justice for the victims of rights violations remains essential for credible protection.

Check out MFA's complete set of policy briefs here


Step It Up: Dignity. Rights. Development! 25 Years of Convention on Migrant Workers

On 2-3 November 2014, in a gathering of civil society organizations, trade unions and human rights advocates in Dubai, a discussion was initiated to step up the campaign for the ratification of the 1990 UN Migrant Workers Convention. The 25th Anniversary of the Convention in 2015 presents a unique opportunity to scale up the campaign and call on UN Member States to ratify the Convention and for the States parties to fulfill their commitments as part of their obligations to promote and protect the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.

As a result of the meeting in Dubai, MFA together with the OHCHR Secretary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, International Labour Organization, South Asian Regional Trade Union Council, Diplomacy Training Program, Arab Network for Migrants Rights, Solidarity Center, and Migrant Rights International, are pleased to launch a year-long campaign in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Convention.

Titled “Step It Up: Dignity, Rights, Development”, the global campaign seeks to reinvigorate efforts for ratification. The campaign encourages all stakeholders – States parties, trade unions, employers’ organizations, civil society organizations, migrant workers and members of their families to take part in this yearlong global initiative, beginning today, 18 December 2014 to 18 December 2015.

The Step It Up campaign through the online platform strives to weave together these interrelated issues and clearly demonstrates that migration is not an isolated matter but is tied to various dimensions of peoples’ struggles for equality, dignity, decent work and human rights.

To know more about the campaign, please visit http://cmw25.org/. Activities relating to the promotion of the human rights of migrant workers and members of their families as well as engagements with States to ratify the CMW will find space in this online platform.


International Migrants Day Statement: 18 December 2014

On 18 December 2014, Migrant Forum in Asia joins migrant communities, migrants’ rights advocates, and human rights defenders around the world in celebrating International Migrants Day. We honour migrant workers worldwide who take considerable risks crossing borders, make many personal sacrifices in pursuit of a better future, and who must fight for basic recognition of their rights. We stand together in this struggle.

Marking 25 Years of the Migrants’ Rights Convention

Today we launch a new year-long campaign, Step It Up: Dignity, Rights, Development, leading up to the 25th Anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Family (1990). This Convention reiterates state obligations under international law and specifies the rights that migrant workers and their families can expect governments to uphold. Since its adoption in 1990 and entry into force in 2003, only 47 countries have ratified this convention—an appallingly low ratification rate, particularly given that the Convention reiterates rights that are already enshrined in core international human rights Conventions.


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.

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Step It Up: Dignity, Rights, Development
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Domestic Work Global Campaign