Civil Society Parallel Event on the 2nd Abu Dhabi Dialogue
17-19 April 2012, Manila, Philippines
As representatives of over 20 civil society organizations and trade unions from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, and Sri Lanka, we met at the “Civil Society Parallel Event on the 2nd Abu Dhabi Dialogue” on 17-19 April 2012 in Manila, Philippines. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss our common positions and engagement with the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) process.
We commend the initiatives taken by the Governments involved in the ADD in continuing the process started in 2008 to provide a platform for discussing migration issues between sending and receiving countries. While we appreciate that the ADD has provided space for us to engage in the dialogue process, we are concerned that our participation was limited to observation status only.
As civil society and trade unions, we welcome the intention of the governments to discuss and address key issues faced by migrant workers. However, bearing in mind the complexity and challenges related to migration, we believe that it should not be addressed from a management perspective alone, but be based on established human rights principles and people-centered development.
These principles should guide the ADD in its consideration of its key areas of discussion as contained in the Framework of Regional Cooperation.
As the ADD process evolves, we call on the ADD governments to additionally address the following major issues confronting migrant workers within the regions: the plight of undocumented migrants, the need for enforceable standardized contracts, replacing the Kafala system with a more just recruitment and employment system for migrant workers, exploring the possibility of adopting a reference wage system based on the recognition of skills and experience, and the inclusion of migrants in social security and insurance protection schemes and programmes.
Furthermore, in order to ensure that migration benefits all, the Framework of Regional Cooperation must be anchored on a rights-based perspective involving the participation of all stakeholders, particularly civil society and trade unions.
We are encouraged by the assurance at the deliberations in the last two days to provide opportunities for continuing engagement of civil society in the ADD process. For this dialogue to be meaningful, our participation should be substantive, sustained, and ensured.
Migrant Forum in Asia
Action Network for Migrant Workers
Al Amana Center
Anglican Refugee and Migrant Network
Asia Migrant Domestic Workers’ Alliance
Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center
Center for Indian Migrant Studies
Center for Migrant Advocacy
Filipino Community Association – Qatar
Helpers for Domestic Helpers
Jordan National Commission for Women
Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Inc.
Kuwait Trade Union Federation
Migrants Rights Council
National Human Rights Commission – Oman
National Trade Union Federation
Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit
Youth Action Nepal