ACN supports regional forum to promote safe labour migration

The Regional Multi-Stakeholder Forum: Responsible Business Conduct for Safe Labour Migration in ASEAN, organised by the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines with support from the ASEAN Secretariat, was held from 19 to 20 September 2018 in Manila, the Philippines.

The Forum was organised in collaboration with ASEAN CSR Network (ACN), International Labour Organisation, International Organisation for Migration, UN Women and the Swiss Development Cooperation – Global Programme Migration and Development. ACN CEO Mr Thomas Thomas also presented on the ASEAN Guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on Labour at the Forum.

Participants included representatives from ASEAN ministries in charge of migration and people trafficking, ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), migrant workers’ organisations, employers’ associations, recruitment agencies, trade unions, women’s groups, civil society organisations, and think-tanks.

The Forum acknowledged the mutual reinforcement between ASEAN frameworks such as the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ASEAN Consensus); ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; ASEAN Guidelines for CSR on Labour; the global agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals; and the soon-to-be-adopted Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Participants emphasised the importance of ensuring greater alignment and synchronisation of actions taken by ASEAN Member States at the local and national levels, with their commitments, both legally and non-legally binding, at the regional and international levels.

The participants also shared and mapped good policies and practices of governments and responsible business practices of companies and their supply chain to promote safety and well-being of workers throughout the migration cycle, and discussed ways to strengthen social dialogue and enhance stakeholder engagement and CSR.

This culminated in the development of a set of concrete recommendations that governments and stakeholders should prioritise for implementation to improve labour migration governance and responsible business conduct.

Among the recommendations was sustaining efforts towards the eventual adoption of legally-binding instruments on CSR and protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, based on the existing ASEAN Guidelines for CSR on Labour and the ASEAN Consensus respectively. Another was to consider, at the appropriate platform, adopting the proposed regional strategy on CSR and human rights developed by AICHR and ACN, and a regional strategy to implement the ASEAN Guidelines for CSR on Labour developed by the ASEAN Senior Labour Officials Meeting.