In July 2007, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers established the ASEAN Committee to Implement the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. As its name suggests, the Committee is tasked with implementing the 2007 ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion on the Rights of Migrant Workers.
ACMW’s purpose, as defined by the Statement of the Establishment of the ACMW is to:
ACMW has divided its work into four “thrust areas”:
The ACMW reports to the Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM).
ACMW meets on an annual basis. It met for the first time in Singapore in September 2008. ACMW has held six meetings to date.
ACMW agreed to convene a drafting team (ACMW-DT) to outline the rights to be covered by the instrument. The drafting task force was composed of representatives from Malaysia and Singapore (receiving states) as well as the Philippines and Indonesia (sending states).
The first ACMW-DT meeting was held on 1 April 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. Differences arose between Member States over the scope and nature of the instrument. At the second meeting, some progress was made and an ACMW-DT work plan was developed.
At the third meeting in Kuala Lumpur in December 2009, discussions within the drafting team stalled due to disagreements between sending and receiving states over whether the instrument will:
In 2010, the ACMW-DT was expanded to include all ten ASEAN Member States in order to break the negotiation deadlock. In 2012 a “Zero Draft” of an instrument on migrant worker rights was adopted and since then, negotiations have focused around building consensus amongst the ASEAN Member States on each article of the draft. A total of eight ACMW-DT meetings have been held to date, with the latest being held in Jakarta on 29-30 April 2013.
This is an ASEAN-hosted event involving governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and civil society stake-holders. The Forum provides a space for dialogue and exchanges of ideas on the issues facing migrant workers in Southeast Asia.
Each Forum has a theme, often focusing on how to implement the ASEAN Declaration on Migrant Workers' Rights.
2nd AFML 2009 ASEAN Declaration on Migrant Workers: Achieving its Commitment
3rd AFML 2010 Enhancing Awareness and Information Services to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers
4th AFML 2011 Development of a public campaign to promote understanding, rights and dignity of migrant workers in countries of destination
5th AFML 2012 Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers: Regulation of Recruitment
6th AFML 2013 Enhancing policy and protection of migrant workers through data sharing, and adequate access to the legal and judicial system during employment, including effective complaints mechanisms
The Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers (TF AMW) has been participating actively on drafting the recommendations to be brought at the AFML. The task force is composed of regional networks of civil society organizations and related trade unions such as FORUM-ASIA, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility in Asia (CARAM-Asia).
Prior to the establishment of ACMW, ASEAN had been attempting to address the issue of migrant workers and related issues, such as trafficking in persons and irregular migration, through a number of declarations and action plans.
In January 2007, ASEAN adopted the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. The Declaration commits ASEAN Member States to promoting, “decent, humane, productive, dignified and remunerative employment for migrant workers” and the development of an ASEAN Instrument on Migrant Worker Rights. In July 2007, the ASEAN Committee to Implement the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) was established by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.
In 2009, the Declaration on Migrant Worker Rights was reaffirmed in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint that listed the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers as one of its strategic objectives (section C.2).