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PHL pushes for protection for migrants at Vienna meet

GMA News - June 10, 2012. "The Philippine government pushed for the protection of migrant workers regardless of their migration status at an inter-government meeting in Austria last May 30 to June 1. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr., who represented the Philippines, relayed the Philippine position at the meet. "

"In his presentation as a panelist at the first meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Smuggling of Migrants from May 30 to June 1 in Vienna, Austria, Conejos shared the Philippines' policy and best practices in implementing its protective mantle for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

He said the Philippines uses a victim-centered human rights approach as its primary response to protect overseas Filipinos from human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and illegal recruitment.

Conejos added the three general operating principles under this protective mantle are:

1. The life-cycle approach that includes measures from pre-deployment to on-site protection, to return and reintegration.

2. Protection begins at home through the front-loading of protective measures before the Filipino worker leaves home.

3. International cooperation is required to make migration work.

Conejos cited the 70 bilateral labor agreements the Philippines has forged with its partner destination countries.

Also, he pointed out the Philippines is an active participant in the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (the Bali Process) and the Colombo Process, the Regional Consultative Process on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labor for Countries of Origins in Asia.

The Philippines is also taking the lead in the establishment of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Trafficking in Persons.

The open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Smuggling of Migrants was established by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

It seeks to advise and assist the Conference in the implementation of its mandate in regard to the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol."


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