More than 50 delegates from the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) met with the ASEAN secretariat for the 16th ACMW meeting on July 26-27.

The virtual meeting, hosted by rotating ASEAN chair Indonesia, was attended for the first time by representatives of Timor-Leste, in its capacity as an observer.

An ASEAN secretariat press release said the meeting was held to review the progress of the ACMW’s 2018-2025 action plan. Key outcomes and challenges of the initiatives that have been completed were discussed, along with the implementation of ongoing and future projects.

“The meeting also examined the results of the bloc’s second self-assessment on the implementation of the ACMW. It was noted that steady progress and increased efforts were observed towards realising the commitments of the consensus,” it said.

The meeting also deliberated on several recently adopted ASEAN Declarations related to the protection of migrant workers, namely the ASEAN Declaration on Portability of Social Security Benefits for Migrant Workers in ASEAN, the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Family Members in Crisis Situations, and the ASEAN Declaration on the Placement and Protection of Migrant Fishers, as well as the ongoing development of respective guidelines to turn these commitments into concrete actions.

Representatives of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) also attended an open session, together with respective donor partners from Australia, Canada and the EU.

The open session concluded with representatives of the ILO and IOM agreeing to review and update ongoing partnerships and to explore other priority areas for future collaboration, including strengthening efforts and initiatives to prevent human trafficking and labour exploitation of migrant workers as well as promoting safe and fair migration in the region.

The meeting also highlighted the recent launch of a public campaign on safe and fair migration in ASEAN, which was led and hosted by the Philippines on July 4. The campaign was supported by the EU through the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument and the ILO through the EU-funded ILO-UN Women “Safe and Fair” programme under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.

The campaign’s audio-visual presentations were produced as educational and awareness-raising materials that would provide current and prospective migrant workers with comprehensive and reliable information on pre-departure and post-arrival mechanisms, to better prepare them for migration and safeguard them against various forms of exploitation.