Thursday, May 11, 2017

ASEAN, Canada agree to improve protection of migrant workers

ASEAN member countries and Canada have agreed to improve the protection of migrant workers during the 14th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Meeting in Ottawa, Canada, on May 8, 2017.

This was stated in a press statement from the Directorate General of ASEAN Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received in Jakarta, on Tuesday.

"ASEAN and Canada share common views and concerns about violence against women and children, human trafficking, and the protection of migrant workers," Director General of ASEAN Cooperation, Jose Tavares, who led the Indonesian delegation to the meeting, stated.

ASEAN member countries consider Canada as an important partner in promoting human rights and democracy in the region.

"In response to human rights issues raised by Canada, Indonesia underscored the efforts to promote and protect human rights, which is a common commitment between ASEAN and Canada," he noted.

On that occasion, Canadian Delegation chairman Donald Bobiash stated that Canada had lauded the efforts of ASEAN countries in the protection of the rights of migrant workers.

"ASEANs efforts to promote and protect the rights of ASEAN migrant workers are appreciated by Canada. Canada will realize the project worth US$5.5 million in an attempt to support and protect the rights of ASEAN migrant workers as implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus statement in Sept 2016," he remarked.

In addition to addressing human rights issues, the two sides also discussed strengthening in various areas of cooperation between ASEAN and Canada, such as global economic environment, counter-terrorism/extremism and radicalization, connectivity, climate change, and disaster mitigation.

The partnership between ASEAN and Canada has been started since 1977. The cooperation between the two parties has reached an enhanced partnership.

"Canada praises the well-established ASEAN-Canada partnership for 40 years. Canada expects the status of the partnership to be strengthened continuously in the future," he remarked.(*)

Image result for asean canada

In Malaysia, easier to say sorry than ask for permission

In Malaysia, easier to say sorry than ask for permission

Panasonic, Samsung act to protect foreign migrant labour after expose

 Labour rights groups have welcomed the positive measures being taken by Panasonic and Samsung to address alleged abuse of foreign migrants in their supply chains in Malaysia, according to The Guardian.

However, they said more concrete steps needed to be taken to ensure migrant workers are not exploited.
Panasonic, for instance, had organised a series of human rights seminars for its suppliers and established a confidential whistleblowers’ hotline to report alleged abuse, The Guardian reported.
It has also identified 15 companies in its supply chain where workers are at potential risk of abuse and is trying to ensure workers get adequate protection.
Samsung, for its part, has issued new guidelines to its suppliers, including a ban on recruitment fees and the retention of workers’ passports.
It also terminated the contract of the labour supply company identified in The Guardian report last year as being allegedly involved in the abuse.
The Guardian said Angela Sherwood, a migrants’ rights researcher at Amnesty International, was happy with the introduction of such policies and guidelines.
However, she raised questions about their implementation and enforcement, including whether they were acting decisively against suppliers who exploited workers.
“How do they protect and support exploited workers in their supply chains?” she was quoted as asking.
Golda Benjamin, Southeast Asia researcher for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, also wants to see better safeguards introduced to protect migrant foreign workers.
The Guardian quoted her as saying: “The best brands engage with suppliers and work together to protect the people who make their products.”
Last November, The Guardian reported that workers making goods for both the global electronics brands were being exploited.
Its investigations found that Nepalese workers employed in the Panasonic and Samsung supply chains had been duped about their work and salaries. Their passports had been confiscated and they were deeply in debt after paying large sums to recruitment agents for the jobs.
The report said high recruitment fees left many of the tens of thousands of foreign migrant workers vulnerable to debt bondage and forced labour.
Meanwhile, Laurent Abadie, the CEO of Panasonic Europe, told The Guardian there might be thousands of subcontracted companies behind Panasonic’s 589 direct suppliers in Malaysia.
“It’s a complex and difficult issue to tackle because of the number of suppliers. It’s not all fine yet, but we are making progress. I think there is a general commitment. It is very complex. It’s a matter of education, awareness and persistence,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch electronics manufacturer with a factory in Petaling Jaya won a “stop slavery” award in 2016 for its work in creating a supply chain free of exploitation, according to The Guardian.
The firm, it said, was recognised for policies designed to make anti-slavery “everyone’s business in the company”.
The report said NXP’s board of directors and the CEO himself signed off on all human trafficking policies.
Also, the company interviews foreign migrant workers before they depart. If it finds that they have paid recruitment fees, the money is refunded, and the recruitment agents in the country of origin are audited.
The Guardian, which exposed abuses by contractors along the supply chain of these firms last year, reports that rights groups want more concrete measures.

Number of women in managerial positions in Malaysia remains high

 The number of women in management positions in Malaysia in 2017 has fallen slightly from 2016 but it still remains top of a table that includes countries surveyed in the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide.
The annual Hays Asia Salary Guide reveals women account for 35% of management roles in Malaysia with mainland China also reporting the same figure. Representing a two per cent loss from last year's figure, Malaysia is ahead of Hong Kong who are at 33%, Singapore 31% and Japan at 22%.