Protect women migrant workers in Southeast Asia

News Release

Women parliamentarians call for protection of women migrant workers across Southeast Asia

The Women Parliamentarians of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (WAIPA) have closed ranks to push for a resolution that would promote the health and welfare of women migrant workers across the region.

The resolution to be presented at the 38th AIPA General Assembly on Tuesday is seen as a crucial step towards greater recognition and protection of migrant women’s rights in Southeast Asia, which has seen rapid economic and political integration in recent years.

Sponsored by the delegation of women legislators from the Philippines headed by Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano, the proposed WAIPA resolution calls for the following courses of action:

- Establish the AIPA/WAIPA Committee on Women Migrant Workers to address health issues of women migrant workers and prioritize the formulation of a Plan of Action.;

- Urge AIPA member-countries and their parliaments to further improve their health care financing policies in order to provide women migrant workers with access to health care services regardless of their financial capability; and

- Urge AIPA member parliaments to be mindful of the plight not only of women migrant workers, but of all migrant workers and be signatories to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Further, AIPA members will be urged to call upon their respective countries to develop effective policy measures for improving health outcomes to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 target of universal health coverage for all regardless of age, gender, race, religion, disability, class ethnicity, nationality, migration and social status or political affiliation.

Women migrant workers, the resolution said, are vested with the right to health, which includes access to affordable, quality and cost-effective health services.

The resolution likewise noted how these women face various challenges, such as increased vulnerability to health risks and exposure to potential hazards at all stages of migration.

The document cited international and regional instruments for migrant workers’ rights to which ASEAN member-states are parties.

These include the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and the Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the gender equality agenda as stated in 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the 2004 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the ASEAN region.

The House of Representatives is the host of the 38th AIPA General Assembly in line with its hosting duties for the ASEAN Summit 2017. The 10 AIPA member- states are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. #

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