By Dr Lin Mui Kiang (Proham Hon member)
The 8th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights was held in Kuala Lumpur from 17-18 August 2015. Its specific focus is on Migration and Human Rights as it has become one of the cross-cutting issue in the ASEAN Blueprint covering the Political Security, Economic, and Social Cultural pillars.
ASEAN has established the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour as the avenue for dialogue among the stakeholders on the issue on migrant workers. in 2005, ASEAN established the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers (ACMW) which is tasked to draft an instrument for the protection of migrant workers. Unfortunately, negotiations among the ASEAN member states have been slow and the instrument is yet to be finalized.
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has included a thematic study on migration and human rights as one of its activites in its 5-year work plan (2010-2014) but the study has yet to materialize.
Recognizing the existing challenges in ensuring the protection of human rights and of the people in migration, the 8th Regional Consultation is held to:
- Identify, map and scope the human rights issues being faced by the migrants in the ASEAN region, particularly in the context of the launch of the ASEAN Community in 2015;
- Provide a platform for human rights dialogue, solidarity and coordination on action for the promotion and protection of the human rights of mogrants, among civil society, NHRIs, and other relevant stakeholders in the ASEAN region; and
- Provide a platform for dialogue between CSOs and the existing human rights mechanisms of ASEAN, particularly the AICHR and the ACWC.
The Consultation has promulgated a list of recommendations and action plan to be executed by its respective members in an effort to expedite the implementation of ASEAN's commitments, in particular by ACMW and AICHR.