LABUAN BAJO —The ASEAN member states vowed to improve protection of migrant fishers as they encouraged each other to initiate or conclude bilateral agreements to ensure the safe and regular migration of fisherfolks.
As stated in the ASEAN Declaration on the Placement and Protection of Migrant Fishers, member states resolved to encourage initiating or concluding bilateral agreements among each other and with countries outside the region "to facilitate safe and regular migration of migrant fishers especially in recruitment and placement processes, safe repatriation and reintegration, and access to justice and remedies."
They also want to consider mainstreaming the protection of migrant fishers in all relevant migration policies, mechanisms and processes of ASEAN and its member states, including with those of the regional body's external partners, international organizations, and other relevant international entities.
Migrant fishers refer to migrant workers who are employed in any capacity or carrying out an occupation on board commercial fishing vessels flying the flag of a country other than their own nationality.
The member states push for the protection of migrant fishers and their families left behind by ensuring their access to communications, access to information on migration policies, job risks and their rights, and right to any modes of transfer of wages and employment benefits to their families.
Further, the ASEAN leaders aim to promote collaboration and partnerships between member states and relevant ASEAN external partners, international organizations and other regional and national stakeholders for more effective law enforcement and for the protection of ASEAN migrant fishers in the entire migration process.—LDF, GMA Integrated News