Myanmar will lead the discussion on the ASEAN Charter for Promotion and Protection of migrant workers’ rights to ensure its approval in 2014, when Myanmar takes charge of the ASEAN chair.
Director General Myo Aung of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare made the announcement on September 23 at the ninth meeting of Drafting Committee. The meeting hosted by Myanmar at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon was attended by representatives of ASEAN member countries.
“There were heated debates on how granting special favors to migrant workers should not affect national interest adversely. We are yet to negotiate these issues, so the charter will be in the draft stage for a long time. Myanmar will have discussions with ASEAN member countries to ensure its approval in 2014”, he said.
The ASEAN Charter for Promotion and Protection of migrant workers’ rights is an essential instrument for establishing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.
Under the provisions of the charter, migrant workers may enjoy rights not only in ASEAN countries but also in other countries in the world in accordance with laws, rules, regulations and procedures of the countries concerned.
The Drafting Committee meeting to promote and protect ASEAN migrant workers’ rights is held once every year. DG Myo Aung also said that Myanmar would urge other member countries to approve the draft at the earliest date.
The provisions of the draft charter include rules host countries of migrant workers should abide by, protection of migrant workers in ASEAN countries in accordance with the law and the rights of dependents of migrant workers, among others.
There are over 200000 documented Myanmar migrant workers in ASEAN countries. 1.7 million more Myanmar citizens have applied for work permits in Thailand alone, according to the official figures.
There are 214 million official migrant workers worldwide and it is projected to grow up to 400 million in 2050, according to the Ministry of Labour.
The 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting agreed to form a Committee for Promotion and Protection of migrant workers’ rights. The committee to draft the ASEAN Charter for Promotion and Protection of migrant workers’ rights was constituted under it.