Category Archives: Activities

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7th Annual Meeting on Migration of Asian Parliamentarians

APPMigrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Friedrich‐Ebert‐Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, UN Women and the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) convened the 7th Meeting of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labor Migration focusing on Gender-Sensitive Strategies for Migrant Workers, on 22-24 November 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Since 2007, MFA and network partners, with the support of FES, have been facilitating a parliamentarians program aimed at identifying the role for parliamentarians on the issues of labor migration and migrants’ rights, enhancing participation of MPs in that role, and identifying key issue areas to take on. Past programs were organized in Manila (2007, 2012), Singapore (2008), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), Cambodia (2011) and Manila (2012).The objective of this year’s Meeting of the Asian Inter‐Parliamentary Caucus on Labor Migration is among others to further the 2012 discussion of social protection from an ASEAN to an interregional focus through a gender-sensitive lens.

This year the program created an ‘Advisory Group’ for the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Labour Migration. This group acted as a focal point for the caucus, with responsibilities such as coordinating with MFA to develop programs for future Caucus meetings and acting as a representative body for the Caucus in engaging with SAARC and ASEAN, among other responsibilities. The creation of the advisory group is meant to increase the visibility of parliamentarians in the Asia region.  Moreover, it is an opportunity for effective policy advocacy, where MFA’s network of lawyers can work with the advisory group in identifying key issues of labour migration and migrants’ rights to tackle.

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2nd Diplomacy Training Program in the Middle East

al arab newspaperThe Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) and the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) held its 2nd regional capacity building program on human rights advocacy and migrant workers in the Middle East.  The training program took place 10-14 November 2013 in Doha, Qatar and was hosted by the National Human Rights Committee, Qatar. DTP is an independent NGO seeking to advance human rights and empower civil society through quality education and training and the building of skills and capacity in NGOS.  DTP and MFA have been working in partnership together for 10 years to build the capacity of advocates to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.

The training program was intended to build knowledge and skills of participants through review of internationally agreed standards and mechanisms related to migrant workers, experience sharing of advocacy work, and fostering support networks and collaboration between countries of origin and destination.

Lawyers who are partners of MFA were present at the 2nd capacity building program in Doha, Qatar.

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Case review of human rights violations in Qatar

Pen-and-NotebookThe Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants conducted an 8-day country visit (Nov. 3-10, 2013) to the state of Qatar upon the government’s invitation.  As part of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, Mr. François Crépeau was invited to examine the state of protection for migrant workers in Qatar.  Upon the end of the country visit, the Special Rapporteur submits a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council to highlight the situation of migrants, as well as provide conclusions and recommendations for the Qatari government.  To assist in the preparation of the Special Rapporteur’s country visit, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) prepared a qualitative analysis, including a case review on human rights violations of migrant workers in Qatar.

Case submissions by the MFA network were used in the analysis, with particular attention to the two largest groups of expat workers, Indians and Nepalis.  The analysis provided insight on the most common themes of human rights violations; including non-payment of wages, sponsor’s restrictive control of migrant’s mobility, detention of migrants, extremely hazardous working conditions resulting in serious injury or death, and unfair compensation.  Additionally, recommendations for legal redress of human rights violations were presented and comprised of the ratification and/or implementation of national laws, as well as key UN and ILO international instruments.

For recent press releases and statements related to the Special Rapporteur’s country visit to Qatar, click here.

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2013 Peoples’ Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights

Category : Activities

pga-2013 bannerThe 2013 People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA) is an independent civil society and grassroots people’s process held in conjunction with the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development (HLD).

This year, the PGA will be held on 30 September (Monday) – 4 October (Friday), at the Church Center of the UN (CCUN), in New York, USA. Activities will include a labor & community march and rally across the Brooklyn Bridge, major plenaries by international grassroots leaders and notable dignitaries, self-organized workshops, government lobbying visits, art displays, cultural events and numerous other activities.

The primary theme for the 2013 PGA is “People, Power & Communities: Building Bridges for Migrant, Labour & Human Rights.” The PGA program will highlight the ongoing struggle around the world to end institutionalized criminalization against migration, a critique of circular migration and temporary worker policies, a focus on people-centered community development programs, and building our transnational movements across borders.

For more information on PGA 2013, click here

For more information on HLD 2013, click here

Some lawyers from the MFA network will be part of the MFA delegation to the PGA and HLD events.

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5th World Social Forum on Migration

wsfm logoFrom 26-30 November, the Philippines will host the 5th World Social Forum on Migration.

The World Social Forum on Migration (WFSM) is one of the thematic processes of the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF is a global process of, and by, social movements, mass organisations, civil society, activists and advocates. As reflected by its slogan, “Another World Is Possible”, the WSFM explores an alternative world order, and the building of societies and communities characterized by mutually-beneficial relationships among people and with the environment. WSF promotes and consolidates a globalization of solidarity, collective analysis, discourse, and people’s action.

The WSFM provides a space for democratic debate, reflection, sharing of ideas and experiences, cultural exchange, socialization, networking, enhancing solidarity, consensus-building, discussion of plans and strategies, and popularization of positions, agendas and actions on migration and mobility-related issues. “Migration and mobility” includes but are not limited to:

  • labor migration
  • refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people
  • trafficking and smuggling of people
  • internal and cross-border migration
  • families and communities of migrants
  • the economic, political, social, cultural and gender dimensions of migration and mobility
  • rights, principles and standards of protection for migrants and their families
  • the linkages between migration and human rights, development, economy and finance, food and jobs, environment, governance, citizenship, etc.
  • strategies, responses and advocacies on the above issues
Some lawyers from the Lawyers Beyond Borders network will be delegates at the WSFM, and a workshop on the Kafala System is being facilitated by Kathleen Hamill, network member. For more information, visit

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1st Lawyers Beyond Borders Program: Building Partnerships for Justice for Migrant Workers

IMG_9113From 23-25 November 2011, Migrant Forum in Asia and local organizing partner, Human Rights and Development Foundation in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF), hosted Lawyers Beyond Borders: Building Partnerships for Justice for Migrant Workers in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference was the first of its kind, bringing together 31 lawyers from the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia who specialize in cases involving migrant workers. In addition to the lawyers were civil society activists in the area of migrants’ rights and observers from OSF.

This convening of lawyers was the result of four years of thinking and strategizing by MFA and its various partners, including Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Migrant Workers Committee, and individual lawyers throughout Asia. It was designed in response to the recognized need for collaboration among lawyers who work on the cases of migrant workers in order to move towards impact litigation and policy advocacy in their work.  This program was also looked at as a means of beginning to forge important connections between lawyers and grassroots organizations working with migrant workers on the ground, as well as migrant communities in both countries of origin and destination.

An action plan was drawn up collaboratively on the final day of the workshop. The plan includes a series of projects that will be undertaken collectively, including:

  • drawing up plans for paralegal training sessions that will better connect civil society and foreign missions to the work of lawyers, and to help them to assist migrant worker communities with their legal needs;
  • compiling resources that will be of use to lawyers, migrant worker advocates, and migrant communities; supporting advocacy campaigns (e.g. the ratification of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers);
  • supporting one another through effective networking and information sharing