ASEAN, Migrant Workers and Human Rights

Susan Kneebone
Faculty of Law, Monash University
Comprises mainly unskilled and semi-skilled
Irregular migration amounts to 40% of the
total migratory movement
Increase in temporary migration and female
migration (mainly for domestic work), and a
commercialization of the recruitment industry
ILO, Migration for Employment Convention
(Revised), No. 97 1949
1975 ILO, Migrant Workers (Supplementary
Provisions) Convention, No.143
1990 Convention on the Protection of the
Rights of All Migrant Workers (‘CMW’) –
distinguishes documented \ undocumented
ILO promotes the use of bilateral and
multilateral agreements between destination
and origin countries
Works closely with ASEAN
IOM and regional consultative processes
See, ‘ASEAN Norms and Setting The Agenda
For The Rights of Migrant Workers’ in Nasu,
H. and Saul B. eds., Human Rights in the Asia
Pacific Region (Routledge 2011) Chapter 8
Within the ASEAN Community they straddle
the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural
See Kneebone ‘Transnational labour migrants:
whose responsibility?’ in Rubenstein, K. ed.,
Allegiance and Identity in a Globalised World
(Cambridge University Press 2014)
Labelled as ‘foreign workers’
Their political status is defined by lack of
connection to the ‘host’ state
Their lack of membership of the host
community is explained by their ‘foreignness’
Restrictive integration policies
Focus on labour market rather than individual
worker’s rights
They are transnational labour migrants who
are frequently exploited in country of origin
and at destination
See Kneebone ‘Introduction: Migrant Workers
Between States: In Search of Exit and
Integration Strategies in South East Asia’
(2012) 40 (4) Asian Journal of Social Sciences
A focus on regular migrants
Limited reference to human rights
Emphasis on creating a harmonious ASEAN
Declaration on Migrant Workers juxtaposes
the obligations of sending and receiving
Rather than stressing the shared obligations
of states in the region
Reflect political relations and the balance of
power within the region
Declaration on Migrant Workers, Art 11,
imposes an obligation on sending states to
“enhance measures related to the ...
protection of the rights of migrant workers.”
Trafficked and smuggled persons
Refugees and ‘anticipatory’ ‘crisis’ migration
– recognised in CMW
Common protection needs masked by
conventional causation-based categories …

similar documents