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ASEAN Confers on Migrant Workers’ Rights

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The 9th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour focusing on their protection in the region opened in Vientiane yesterday.

The two day meeting has been organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare aiming to discuss improving the protection of migrant workers’ rights by strengthening the legal mechanisms governing their status.

Speaking at the forum’s opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Ms Khambay Khatthiya, said its objective was to allow participants to review the progress of the ASEAN Labour Ministers Work Plan for 2010-2015 as well as various action plans and ASEAN Vision 2016-2020. This included reviewing the progress made in implementing the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers plan for 2011-2020 in the region and other cooperation programmes with dialogue partners.

She said officials would also share their experiences and suggestions regarding the protection of workers’ rights in addition to practical issues relating to development in ASEAN countries.

Discussions would include stepping up protection and promotion of migrant workers’ rights against exploitation and mistreatment by enhancing labour migration governance in ASEAN countries along with regional cooperation to fight human trafficking in ASEAN and developing an ASEAN instrument on protection and promotion of migrant workers’ rights, she said.

The government, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, has worked to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.

It has identified a labour and social welfare programme until 2025 to enhance the quality of labour to match market needs so that Lao workers can be competitive at regional and international levels, she said.

Ms Khambay noted in addition, that workers would have improved employment security with the social protection floor and social dialogue in Laos strengthening.

The programme is developing the labour force based on economic structure, promoting employment services and self employment, strengthening workers’ protection, and enhancing industrial relations.

More importantly, the government is focusing on poverty reduction and increasing the income earned by migrant workers and their families by running various programme activities throughout the country, such as microcredit schemes.

 

Source: Vientiane Times