Regional Multi-stakeholders Forum: Responsible Business Conduct for Safe Labour Migration in ASEAN, 19-20 September 2018, Philippines

Date: 19 - 20 September 2018

Location: Manila,  the Philippines

Organised by ASEAN Secretariat in collaboration with the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines, ASEAN CSR Network, International Labour Organisation and international Organisation for Migration. 


Background and Rationale

  1. Regional labour migration in ASEAN Member States is an important part of development like in many regions of the world. At the same time, labour migration has resulted in many various human rights challenges from both the sending and receiving countries. This issue has amounted to become one of the most challenging cross-region human rights issues. Nexus between migration and trafficking in persons is one of the transnational human rights and security issues. Many countries have developed national instruments and institutions to manage the movement of migrant labour while respecting and protecting their rights. However there are serious challenges to integrate migrant labour policy as part of social and economic development strategy. ASEAN as a region has also responded to address this development and human rights challenges by enacting various soft as well and hard legal instruments and institutions.
  1. Last year, under the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN, the ASEAN Concensus of the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ASEAN Concensus) was signed by the Leaders at the 31st ASEAN Summit. It is aimed to ensure fair treatment of migrant workers and to protect them from abuse, exploitation and violence. It consists of 62 articles with the acknowledgment from the governments of the rights of migrant workers and shared and balanced responsibilities of the Receiving and Sending States in the entire migration process. It is the continuation from the political commitment in the Cebu Declaration (2007) that mandated both Receiving and Sending States to uphold the human rights principles in managing the flow of migrant labour in ASEAN, and established an annual multi-stakeholder forum, which is called the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour, involving governments, employers’, employees’, and civil society organisations. The ASEAN Consensus builds linkages with the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children (ACTIP), which has entered into force last year, particularly on matters related to trafficked persons for labour exploitation.
  1. The ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) also adopted the ASEAN Guideline for CSR on Labour[1] in May 2016 to serve as a guide for governments, enterprises and establishments, employers’ and workers’ organisations to raise awareness of labour rights issues among enterprises and incorporate responsible business, human rights and decent work into their business practices.
  1. The Forum is intended to highlight good practices and policies at government and/or company levels to ensure no unfair, exploitative or abusive labour practices of their partners, suppliers or sub-contractors. This certainly includes the issue of ethical recruitment. The Forum is not intended to stimulate debates about the concept of CSR, but to inspire participants to promote responsible businesses conduct in their countries and discuss their contribution to safe migration through ethical recruitment, which would prevent or minimize the risks of irregular migration and trafficking.
  1. In addition to the above intention and focus of the Forum, this activity should be considered as ASEAN’s forward looking initiative to see how the soon-to-be-adopted Global Compact on Migration would bring benefits to ASEAN as a whole and, vice versa. Although ASEAN as a group has not officially engaged in the process but most of ASEAN Member states are engaged individually. Therefore the ongoing ASEAN efforts to promote safe migration by implementing the ASEAN Consensus and ACTIP would add value to AMS’ implementation of the Global Compact in future following its adoption by the UN General Assembly. The discussion can also help delegates to better see the linkages of the ASEAN Consensus and ACTIP in addressing the issue of trafficking in persons for labour exploitation.
  1. With the active role that ASEAN plays on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, led by Thailand, the outcome of this Forum will also contribute to the implementation of incorporated global commitment for safe, orderly and regular migration.


Objectives of the Forum

  1. Sharing and mapping good policies and practices by both governments and responsible business practices of companies (including their supply chains) in ensuring ethical recruitment and decent work of migrant workers to promote safe migration, from the lens of the ASEAN Guideline for CSR on Labour.
  1. Sharing information and perspectives on the complementarity of ASEAN efforts to promote safe migration through the implementation of the ASEAN Consensus and ACTIP with the global agendas of Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (following its anticipated adoption in 2018) and the migrant workers-related targets of SDGs. In this regard, the discussion can also help delegates to better see the linkages of the ASEAN Consensus and ACTIP.


Activity Description

This Forum is hosted by the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines with the support of the ASEAN Secretariat.

The 2-day Forum will be attended by:

  • Labour officials in charge of migration issues (ACMW);
  • Law enforcement officials in charge of TIP issues (SOMTC);
  • Representatives of private companies hiring migrant workers especially those based in the Receiving States (Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand);
  • Representatives of recruitment agencies of migrant workers especially those based in the Sending States (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Viet Nam);
  • Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR);
  • Representative of ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE);
  • Representative of ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC) and ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC);
  • Representatives of Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers (TFAMW) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA);
  • Representatives from relevant UN Agencies, i.e. IOM, ILO;
  • Representatives of ASEAN CSR Network;
  • Representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD);
  • Representatives of ASEAN Secretariat.

[1] The Guidelines is available here: