Author Archives: MFA

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LBB Philippines Free Legal Clinic for Migrant Workers

Category : Activities

LBB Philippines

LBB Philippines

We are very much pleased to inform you that Lawyers Beyond Borders Philippines, Inc., or LBB Phil, has just lauched its Access to Justice Periodic Forum today, 7 September 2015, in partnership with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Regional Satellite Office XII.  The same was participated by 50, more or less, Returning-Overseas Filipino Workers and was witnessed by Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo, CESO III (Department of Labor and Employment XII), Regional Director Marilou M. Sumalinog (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XII), and Mr. Pobleo Allera of National Labor Relations Commission Regional Arbitration Branch XII. The launching ceremony was likewise covered by the Philippine Information Agency XII and three (3) local radio stations.

The program is the humble response of LBB Phil to a constitutional guarantee that “free access to judicial and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate free legal assistance shall not be deprived to any person by reason of poverty.” It is of our great hope that this shall be another avenue where we can effectively exercise our legal profession in relation to the growing needs of our migrant workers and their families in the field of legal relations all under the spirit of volunteerism.


LBB Philippines Free Legal Clinic


LBB Philippines Free Legal Clinic

Atty. Ben of LBB Philippines (Image from LBB Phil Facebook Page)

Atty. Ben of LBB Philippines (Image from LBB Phil Facebook Page)


By LBB Philippines

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Resource: Policy briefs on bilateral agreements; joint and several liability

Category : MFA Policy Briefs

In recent years, a number of Asian governments have forged bilateral agreements (BLAs) and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to govern labour migration. These government-to-government agreements are negotiated frameworks to facilitate the recruitment and movement of workers from country of origin to country of destination. BLAs and MOUs can be useful documents by which migrants, migrants’ rights advocates, lawyers, and other stakeholders can understand the commitments that origin and destination country governments have set for themselves in governing labour migration. Members and partners of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) have long been engaged in monitoring such agreements where they exist and in advocating for greater transparency and involvement in the process of their negotiation. In some cases, MFA members have advocated for the establishment of rights-based BLAs or MOUs where none yet exist as a mechanism of encouraging States to commit, on paper, to migrant labour regimes that respect and promote the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.
Access to justice is one of the principal challenges faced by migrant workers. In many cases, abused or illegally dismissed workers find it difficult or even outright impossible to file and prosecute labor complaints against their foreign employers. Once employment is terminated, the migrant worker has very limited options. Oftentimes, they are deported or opt to return to the home country without receiving their unpaid salaries, benefits and other monetary claims. Upon arrival in their home countries, migrant workers have no means to seek compensation from their abusive foreign employers. Having this scenario in mind, Philippine policy makers embodied in its laws the joint and several liability of recruitment/ placement agencies and the principal/employer for money claims of overseas Filipino workers to ensure that they can still prosecute their just claims against the foreign employer and the recruitment/placement agencies after they have returned to Philippines.

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Lawyers Beyond Borders: A Brief History

Category : Documents , Resources

This narrative presents a brief history of a network thriving to bring justice for migrant workers and members of their families. The Lawyers Beyond Borders (LBB) is a transnational network established by Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) in 2011 in response to the crucial need for more fair and adequate legal redress mechanisms for migrant workers and members of their families, and increased coordination among lawyers, legal aid practitioners, civil society and State and non-State actors in countries of origin and destination. Members of the network focus on migrant workers’ rights violation cases in Asia, initially and particularly West Asia, and then later on expanded to include other migration corridors of the continent.

LBB is rooted and has visibly emerged from a long and steady history of efforts by grassroots groups, self-organized migrant workers, their families and individual advocates – the frontliners – who work on the ground and collaborate to achieve the realization of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families. The initiatives of the frontliners to resolve migrants’ rights violations and social issues were possible even with humble resources. LBB provides strategic opportunities for the grassroots to push for greater concerted actions on building and strengthening capacities of network members and partners on provision of legal assistance and rights advocacy, bridging access to justice for migrant workers and members of their families, and empowering the latter through the rule of law.

This narrative illustrates how LBB has evolved through the years but it also ¬shows how it is part of a vast continuum of the advocacy of the MFA network for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families in Asia, and the potential influence the network can bring beyond the region.

Read the full narrative here

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Resource: Policy briefs on the role of missions and shelters

Category : MFA Policy Briefs

Migrant Forum in Asia issued new policy briefs which are useful for advancing migrants rights advocacy:

The role of missions in protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers

There is an evident gap between the perceptions of embassy officials and migrant communities with respect to the role of the foreign mission. Migrant communities and migrants rights advocates have long held that foreign missions must strengthen their presence, responses, and advocacy on behalf of their nationals, particularly when human rights violations occur.

Providing shelter for distressed migrant workers: A rights-based approach.

The shelter exists because of the real and stark human cost of labour migration and restrictive immigration systems for low-income international Asian migrant workers. Protection of migrant workers must ultimately begin with prevention of human and labour rights violations of all migrant workers, regardless of immigration status; so that the demand for shelters would be significantly diminished. Given the failure to protect migrant workers, rights-based shelters can provide migrant workers who have been exploited and abused with vital support and assistance. Ensuring justice for the victims of rights violations remains essential for credible protection.

Check out MFA’s complete set of policy briefs here

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News map

Category : News map

This mapping of news aims to show what is happening on the ground, gives visibility to issues of migrant workers and members of their families, and can be one of the evidence base for the push for ratification of the UN Migrant Workers Convention and related human rights and labour rights treaties.

Disclaimer: Red markers “mark” the countries where the news are reported, they do not plot specific coordinates, towns or locations.

MFA is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

This map is originally posted on the Step It Up campaign. See here

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Lawyers Directory

Category : Lawyers Directory

The following is a list of lawyers and migrants rights advocates who, either in their independent or organizational capacities, can provide legal assistance on cases of migrant workers and members of their families. For more information, or if you would like to get in touch with the lawyers listed on this page, please contact

Bahrain | Bangladesh | India | Indonesia | JordanLebanon | Malaysia | Philippines | Sri Lanka


Madhavan Kallath, Managing Director, Kallath and Company W.L.L.

City: Manama
Telephone Number: +973 17522799
Mobile Number: +973 39199439
Email Address:

About Kallath and Company W.L.L.
We are in legal consultancy in corporate law and labour related legislation. Our activities include:

  1. Providing legal advice on phone
  2. Providing legal advice on live radio show with YourFM 104.2 (in English, Hindi and Malayalam) for an hour once a week.
  3. Attending the open house at the Indian Embassy held once a month and providing legal advice. The open house is attended by H.E. the Ambassador and other senior officials of the Embassy where the migrants present their cases some of them new and some which are pending after referring to the Embassy.
  4. Liaising with the Embassy for dealing with the problems of the migrants where legal assistance may not be required.
  5. Assisting them in getting legal services through Bahraini lawyers for litigation (Under the Bahraini law only Bahraini lawyers are permitted to appear in the court representing litigants)
  6. Liaising and following up with Bahraini lawyers in the cases referred to in 5 above.

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Abdullah Al Hasan

City: Dhaka
Mobile Number: +8801711907417
Email Address:

About Lawyers Beyond Borders Foundation Bangladesh

Lawyers Beyond Borders Foundation Bangladesh is one of the newly established chapters of Lawyers Beyond Borders Network in Bangladesh on 4 July 2015, in Dhaka.

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Shashi Kiran Pusuluri, Legal Advisor, Migrants Rights Council (MRC)

City: Hyderabad, Telangana
Mobile Number:+919848925467
Email Address:

About Migrants Rights Council
My organization has been making commendable efforts to seek protection for undocumented migrant labourers who, on being misled by unscrupulous agents, gone to Gulf countries, including UAE and landed themselves in serious difficulties. It has been espousing the cause of these undocumented migrants workers on several occasions and filed a number of cases before the Hon’ble High Courts in different states as well as before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

Gayatri Singh, Human Rights Law Network

City: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Mobile number: +9820091871
Email address:

About Human Rights Law Network
The Human Right Law Network (HRLN) is a nationwide collective of lawyers and social activists dedicated to using legal system to advance human rights, and ensuring access to justice for all. The network is situated in various cities in India and works with workers, women, dalits children, farmers refugees, homeless, HIV positive people, religious minorities among others.

Our initiatives include:

A. Provide legal aid to migrant workers who have been abused at work or have been duped by the agent.

  • To file cases against the Indian Embassy for not providing the necessary help to migrant workers
  • Since India is also a transit country a number of Nepali and Bangladeshi women are arrested on forged passports and are treated as criminals.

We provide legal aid to ensure that they are released. As a result of a Public Interest Litigation, the External Affairs Ministry and the Home Department issued an office memorandum directing the police authorities to treat such women as victims and to provide the necessary assistance.

  • Another PIL regarding trafficking is pending in which the high court has asked us to prepare guidelines regarding what action can be taken against the traffickers.

B. Any legal help against the agent registered/unregistred in India.

  • Any action to be taken against the Indian government for its complicity and inaction against abuses on Indian workers in foreign countries
  • To seek assistance of lawyers in foreign countries.
  • To campaign and lobby for effective laws in india to protect indian migrant workers.
  • To participate in any international campaign to ensure safeguards for migrant workers.
  • To share experience and best practices in other countries to seek

Hubertson, Program Manager, Justice Ventures International

City: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Mobile Number: 07667455511
Email Address:

About Justice Ventures International
We deal with advocacy for migrant rights, human rights, legal case work and human rights trainings. We provide legal assistance to the National Domestic Worker’s Movement in Chennai regarding migrant issues by drafting petitions and and writ petitions before the High Court, as well as seeking court directions towards the Indian Embassies and other concerned Ministries/Departments.

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    Tiur Harianja, Coordinator, Center for Indonesia Migrant Workers (CIMW)

    City: Jakarta
    Telephone Number:62-21-86615199, 86600229
    Mobile Number: +628151644559
    Email Address:;

    About Center for Indonesia Migrant Workers
    The Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW) is a division of PMK HKBP Jakarta, an organization that focuses on migrant workers issues through several programs, such as research, monitoring and publication combined with crisis center management (providing shelter, legal assistance, individual and family counselling), reintegration, popular education (seminars and consultations with migrant workers and communities), and community organizing.

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      Linda AlKalash, Executive Director, Tamkeen Fields for Aid

      City: Amman
      Telephone Number:+96265539501
      Mobile Number:+962796404408
      Email Address:

      About Tamkeen Fields for Aid
      Tamkeen seeks to enhance social protection for marginalized groups and victims of human rights violations, regardless of social origin, race, color, sex, language, religion or other status. Our main aim is to combat all forms of discrimination, trafficking in persons, torture and ill-treatment. Our initiatives include:

      – Provision of legal consultation
      – Mediation.
      – Addressing official authorities
      – Representation before the courts
      – Using strategic litigation to enhance the rights of migrant workers”

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        Bruno Atieh (CLMC Director) and Attorney Joseph Aoun (Attorney at Law, handling cases of migrants), Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center

        City: Sin El Fil
        Telephone Number: +961 1 502550/1/2/3/4
        Mobile Number: +961 70 173776 (Mr. Atieh) ; +961 3 418526 (Atty. Jaoun)
        Email Address:;

        About Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center
        Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center (CLMC) is a specialized center of Caritas Lebanon, a non-profit organisation, which was established in 1994 to provide migrant workers, refugees and asylum-seekers with specialized and necessary assistance.

        CLMC offers direct assistance such as, access to temporary safe accommodation, basic needs, social, medical, psychological and legal assistance; post-arrival orientation sessions for migrants on their rights and responsibilities; informal life-skills training for migrants; and re-integration in their homeland.

        CLMC is also raising awareness among Lebanese public at large, including staffs of governmental agencies. Training sessions are regularly organised for various law enforcement agents on human rights, migrants’ rights, trafficking in persons, victim identification and response, rights-based approach, victims’ referral to service providers, etc. The CLMC is also advocating for the creation of a legal framework relevant to migrant workers, especially domestic workers. It is also calling for a clear implementation and monitoring system of the anti-trafficking law to be put in place

        CLMC lawyers assist migrants outside detention, including victims of trafficking, with the following: Negotiating with employers or employment agencies on behalf of the migrants in order to resolve problems easily; Filing formal complaints against employers or employment agencies in cases of abuse, non-payment of wages, or breach of contract; Assisting migrants or refugees with obtaining their passports, residency papers, release papers, or other vital documents from employers, employment agencies, and embassies; Assisting migrants or refugees to regularize their immigration status before being detained; Providing assistance to get documentation such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, etc. depending on the life circumstances of the migrant.

        Ghada Jabbour, Co-Founding Member, Head of the Exploitation & Trafficking in Women Unit  (Kafa (enough) Violence & Exploitation)

        City: Beirut
        Website :
        Telephone Number: +961-1-392220
        Mobile Number: +961-3-782148
        Email Address:

        About KAFA
        KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation is a feminist, secular, Lebanese, non-profit, non-governmental civil society organization seeking to create a society that is free of social, economic and legal patriarchal structures that discriminate against women. The Listening and Counseling Center at KAFA operates a helpline for domestic workers and provides services to those who are sexually and physically abused. The center offer social follow-up as well as legal counseling and representation. We refer cases to safe sheltering and offer return assistance for urgent cases.

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        Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna, Assistant Director, Bar Council Malaysia Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee

        City: Kuala Lumpur
        Telephone Number:+6 03-2050 2090 (direct line)
        Mobile Number: +6 012 6845 091
        Email Address:

        Dato’ M. RAMACHELVAM, Chairperson, Migrants, Refugees and Immigration Affairs Committee ( MRIAC) / Bar Council of Malaysia

        City: Kuala Lumpur
        Website :
        Telephone Number: +609-2961262
        Mobile Number: +60199552262
        Email Address:

        About MRIAC
        The MRIAC of the Bar Council is a Committee of the Bar Council of Malaysia. The MRIAC handles all matters pertaining to Migrants, Refugees and Immigration issues on behalf of the Bar Council of Malaysia. The MRIAC carries out advocacy, law reform, provision of training and legal representation for migrants, refugees and non-citizens. They provide the following assistance to migrant workers through our Legal Aid System:
        (a) Provide legal representation in detention and in court
        (b) Assist families and concerned persons to track migrant workers detained in prison/detention centres
        (c) Refer migrants to other service providers for medical assistance, shelter etc.

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          Henry Rojas, Coordinator (Lawyers Beyond Borders), Legal Counsel (Center for Migrant Advocacy), Senior Partner (Rojas & Uy Law Offices)

          City: Quezon City
          Website: ;
          Mobile number: +639178224710
          Email address: ;

          About the LBB Coordinator
          Together with MFA, I co-facilitate the advancement of the Lawyers Beyond Borders network, to build its capacity and to strengthen its information infrastructure. We collaborate with network members and other legal aid providers and advocates in Asia and the Middle East, and carry out consultations to design a series of activities tailored to legal practitioners’ needs and aimed at promoting cross-learning, providing technical support and sharing strategies to overcome legal challenges. I am also the legal counsel of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, an advocacy group that promotes the rights of overseas Filipinos – land- or sea-based migrant workers and Filipino immigrants – and their families.

          Erwin Puhawan, Advocacy/Paralegal Officer, Kanlungan Centre Foundation Inc.

          City: Quezon City
          Telephone Number: +63(2) 9282384
          Mobile Number:+63 (2) 09093425464
          Email Address: /

          About Kanlungan Centre
          Kanlungan Centre Foundation is non stock non profit organization founded June 1989. It provides direct service to migrant workers and their families.

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            SRI LANKA

            Sujeewa Lal Dahanayake

            City: Colombo
            Mobile Number: +94777324062
            Email Address:

            Ruchira Gunasekera

            City: Colombo
            Mobile Number: +994 11 4892499
            Email Address:

            About Lawyers Beyond Borders Sri Lanka Chapter
            Lawyers Beyond Borders Sri Lanka is one of the newly established chapters of Lawyers Beyond Borders Network. They are currently engaged in providing access to justice for victims of labour migration and labour trafficking.


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            [Research] Labour Migrants and Access to Justice in Contemporary Qatar

            Category : Documents , News

            By Andrew Gardner (University of Puget Sound), Silvia Pessoa (Carnegie Mellon Qatar), Laura Harkness; December 2014

            Read the research in these languages: English ; Arabic

            The 60-page report looks at migrants’ interactions with three primary institutions – the Department of Labour Relations, the Labour Court and the Ministry of Interior. The authors found that only a tiny proportion of migrants ever take labour-related cases to the justice system. Of those who do, a large proportion end up abandoning their cases because they cannot support themselves during what are often lengthy legal proceedings. However, those who do persevere and see their cases through to the end often get positive judgements. One conclusion is that the justice system could play a much more influential role in adjudicating labour relations. With incremental improvements to expand migrants’ access to legal redress, the experiences of millions of migrants could be improved.

            Specific recommendations include:

            • Increase the speed of handling migrants’ cases, which currently often take a year or more
            • Provide translation services for migrants, who speak more than 20 languages
            • Allow migrants to seek other legal work while a case is in process
            • Provide authorities with more punitive measures, including penalties for employers who withhold worker pay or refuse to attend court
            • Create a monitoring program to track migrant worker cases and complaints, so as to pinpoint problems and solutions

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            Second Lawyers Beyond Borders Conference

            10593203_10152727317539187_7302937966104189427_n 5-7 September 2014
            Beirut, Lebanon

            The Lawyers Beyond Borders network was established by MFA in 2011 in response to the crucial need for more fair and adequate legal redress mechanisms for migrants, and increased coordination among legal practitioners in countries of origin and destination. Members of the Lawyers Beyond Borders network focus on migrant workers’ rights violation cases in Asia (West Asia in particular), and they make efforts to facilitate access to justice and apply strategic litigation and policy advocacy to their work.

            On 5-7 September, Migrant Forum in Asia and Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre organized the 2nd Lawyers Beyond Borders regional conference: focus on access to justice for the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. 45 representatives, advocates, members of the bar council, activists, mission representatives and various CSOs convened in Beirut, Lebanon for the regional conference. The attendees were composed of: 20  lawyers and advocates from countries Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Philippines; 25 Civil society representatives with 7 representatives from Lebanon; and Mission representatives from the Embassy of Bangladesh, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Embassy of Indonesia, and Embassy of Sri Lanka.

            The momentum built from the first convening of the network and the ongoing collaboration and discussions through the online listserv highlight the importance of strengthening the action points developed in 2011. The  second conference gathered together existing and new members of the network to:

            1. Explore different areas of access to justice, including strategic litigation which aim to address grievances of and improve protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families in countries of origin and destination;
            2. Identify challenges in policy and national legal systems that limit or prevent migrant workers and    members of their families in accessing and reclaiming justice;
            3. Recommend ways forward in ensuring an unhindered access to justice to uphold labor rights and human rights of migrant workers and their families
            4. Further strengthen the Lawyers Beyond Borders program by enhancing the capacities and knowledge of the members and partners on national, regional and international human rights and labor rights mechanisms, and increasing interaction and collaboration in relation to access to justice in countries of origin and destination.

            The sessions discussed country access to justice for migrants and families in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Philippines. Specific cases studies were also highlighted in line with access to justice in two countries of destination: Jordan and Lebanon. Countries of origin chosen with specific case studies included Indonesia and Nepal. A specific session was also organized on public interest litigation, people’s tribunals, and addressing migrant workers’ rights violations through international human rights and labor rights treaties. The last day of the conference focused on developing a program of action for the Lawyers Beyond Borders network. The program of action included strengthening national lawyers networks and engagement with bar councils in both countries of destination and origin.

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            Category : Documents , News

   is a global online platform that strategically collates information on campaigns, policies and initiatives, events, case studies, news articles, laws, and international conventions related to recruitment. It seeks to continuously update visitors of the realities on migration recruitment and the initiatives that exist to address or in some cases exacerbate these concerns.

            It is evident today that recruitment practices plays an important role in the entire cycle of migration from the initial stage of recruitment, to pre-departure training, to signing of contracts, to conciliation and repatriation. In light of this, the need for collective global initiatives that will strategically address the problems in labour recruitment has never been more crucial than today.

            In the last Global Forum on Migration and Development Civil Society Days (GFMD CSD) in Stockholm, a series of meetings was organized on labour migration and recruitment. Among the recommendations was to establish an Open Working Group on Labour Migration and Recruitment and to create a global knowledge-based online platform on recruitment.

   is run and managed by a small team based in the MFA Secretariat. MFA continuously adds data to the online platform and invites comments on how the online platform can be further improved. To signify interest for collaboration or if you would like to contribute relevant resource materials, please send MFA an email at

            Visit the online platform here:

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            [Research] The Kafala system when employers also accepted to share their perspective

            Category : Uncategorized

            Insan Association carried out a study that documents the opinions of a considerable number of employers about the rights and situations of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. By including employers in the discussion the research sets forward a holistic national dialogue on the rights and duties of migrant domestic workers in the country.

            Read the full study here