The labor rights advocacy group Migrant CARE expects President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to talk to ASEAN leaders about the protection of migrant workers, an issue that has been on his national agenda and which many are hoping will be championed in ASEAN.
According to Migrant CARE Executive Director Wahyu Susilo, ASEAN has issued a set of commitments on migrant workers, including the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, as well as the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
However, there is still reluctance within member states, especially among destination countries, to translate declarations into action.
“Compared to other sectors under the ASEAN socio-cultural pillar, the migrant workers’ issue is lagging behind in operational and measurable protection mechanisms,” Susilo noted.
Regarding the protection of migrant workers, there continues to be potential exposure of migrants to ideas promoting radicalism and violent extremism in the ASEAN region, he added.
Therefore, as leader of the country with the largest population in ASEAN, Indonesia must pro-actively promote initiatives that prevent workers from being exposed to radicalism.
Susilo said that the initiative must be integrated into a mechanism to protect migrant workers, both when they are in their home countries and in destination countries.
"This approach requires a regional commitment," he said.
For this, Migrant CARE has urged President Jokowi to raise the issue of protection of migrants at the 34th ASEAN Summit, where he is expected to participate in a series of meetings with leaders.
The president is traveling to Bangkok this weekend to attend the two day-summit.
He is scheduled to raise three important issues to be discussed at the summit, including the US-China trade war and its impact on the ASEAN region, the management of imported waste and the settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State.