Hakam to Gov’t: Accede to UN Convention on protecting migrant workers

THE Government should ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec 18, 1990 to protect the rights of foreign workers.

“The framework recognises and guarantees respect of the dignity and rights of all migrants, regardless of their origin and immigration status.

“In addition, the Government should also make public the report of the Independent Committee on the Management of Foreign Workers and implement the recommendations made,” National Human Rights Society (Hakam) deputy president Datuk Seri M Ramachelvam pointed out in a statement.

Datuk Seri M Ramachelvam

Recently, the Labour Department announced that it has opened 19 investigation papers against Top Glove Bhd on allegations of flouting the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

The glove maker also landed in hot soup after one of its employees, Yam Narayan Chaudhray, a 29-year-old Nepali security guard died due to complications from COVID-19 On Dec 12. He was stationed at Top Glove’s 13th factory in Meru, Klang.

Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed that Yam Narayan was already in the late stages of the virus infection when the latter was brought to the hospital.

Yesterday, the authorities raided another glove maker, Laglove (M) Sdn Bhd and found the latter flouting Act 446 as well with its 759 migrant workers found living in containers under squalid conditions.

The raid on Laglove was also joined by the media and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan himself.

Migrant workers shaped M’sia’s economy

Commenting on the cases, Ramachelvam said Asean itself is party to the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers and the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

“The Government should comply with the recommendations from 13th Asean Forum on Migrant Labour conferences; and adhere to the principles in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, where Malaysia is a signatory,” he added.

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) leader said since migrant workers started arriving on our shores in the 1980s, the community has shaped the nation’s fabric and contributed a lot to the economy.

“And during the movement control order (MC), migrant workers served as frontliners alongside Malaysians, working in areas such as healthcare, transportation and food services to make our lives easier.

“For that, we salute their selfless work during our time of need,” Ramachelvam remarked.

Meanwhile, FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV) said it remains committed to ensure all migrant workers within its ranks are treated well under existing human rights and labour standards.

“This in line with our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

“FGV’s sustainability and human rights agenda remain a top priority as we continue to dedicate energy in enhancing our labour practices,” it said, in a statement.

The company added it had assisted 1,084 of its migrant workers to return to their home countries once their contract expired, between March and December with the costs borne by FGV.

“And it is worth reiterating that FGV does not practice the retention of migrant workers’ passports, and have installed a total of 32,250 safety boxes throughout all its 68 complexes as an option for migrant workers to keep their passports safely,” the company added. – Dec 22, 2020.




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