Browsing 02. Research and Projects Outputs by Subject "Association of Southeast Asian Nations"
Results Per Page
ItemLiving with Fear and Fragility in Times of Pandemic: Contested Lives of Migrant Workers and Challenges of National and Regional Business and Human Rights Frameworks for Labour Migration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(Global Campus of Human Rights, 2022) Yutthaworakool, SaittawutThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a hub of migrant workers from within the region and outside. Specifically, migrant workers have become strong workforces in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and contributed to significant national revenues. However, the spread of COVID-19 has revealed that migrant workers in these countries are left unattended. In Thailand, migrant workers faced temporary unemployment or delayed salary payments due to the lockdown, while undocumented workers lost their jobs during the pandemic’s peak. In addition, the government ordered the lockdown of construction sites with shortages of food and medicine. Meanwhile, in Malaysia and Singapore, the housing conditions were cramped, overcrowded and unsanitary. More than 20 men were forced to live in one non-air-conditional bedroom. In some dormitories, those who tested positive and negative still shared facilities. In Singapore, 60% of the total COVID-19 cases were low-skilled migrant workers. Many lived in unhygienic dormitories they identified as a ‘living prison’. According to the United Nations Office of High Commissioners for Human Rights, none of these countries have ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families Moreover, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have shown little interest in ratifying International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions relating to migrant workers, particularly ILO Conventions 97 and 143. Among the three countries, Thailand has led over the former two countries since it became the first in Asia to adopt the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) in 2019. Malaysia is looking forward to implementing its first NAP in 2023. Only in Singapore, NAP has not been properly discussed. Furthermore, the ASEAN regional infrastructure has failed to protect migrant workers from human rights violations. This policy paper advocates that willingness from governments and business corporations is key to addressing the rights of migrant workers through legislative and administrative practices at the state level. At the same time, bilateral and multilateral agreements between both sending and receiving countries should be strengthened through the existing ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. More importantly, it is advised that these countries should take the COVID-19 pandemic as their lesson learned throughout multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable solutions.