DFA calls on Asian countries to protect, support migrant workers’ rights

October 13, 2018
Sarah Lou Y. Arriola
Sarah Lou Y. Arriola

THE Philippines urged other labor-sending countries in Asia to come together in support of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) to protect the rights and promote the welfare of their migrants regardless of migration status.

“We believe that we have common cause on issues of migration, whether as countries of origin or as countries that have agreed to have cooperation on matters related to migration,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola told representatives of the Colombo Process and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Geneva on Wednesday.

The Colombo Process is a regional consultative forum on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origins in Asia and has as members the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Thailand and seven other countries in Asia.

SAARC, on the other hand, is the regional intergovernmental union of countries in South Asia that includes Colombo Process members Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well as Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal.

“It is our shared interest to ensure that there will be a robust implementation and review of the Global Compact on Migration and that for member countries of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), its added obligation as the UN agency for migration to be the coordinator and secretariat for the Migration Network, it retains a developing country perspective,” Arriola said.

According to the Undersecretary, the Philippine experience shows the overwhelmingly positive impact of migration, as well as the negative consequences if migration is not properly managed.  

She explained that the Philippine advocacies have centered on protecting the human rights of migrants, facilitating social inclusion of migrants and their families, providing safety nets and maximizing their potential for meaningful contributions to the growth and prosperity in both their host countries and in the Philippines.

“The Philippines has also actively sought dialogue and cooperation with other countries to correct the negative stereotypes and false narratives about migrants and migration that have grown in some places in recent years and this is the reason why in August, the Manila Conference was convened,” she said.  

“No country can alone manage international migration; what is needed is international cooperation between and among countries of origin, transit and destination,” Arriola added.