Malaysia has put in place the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (NAPFL) 2021-2025 which was launched on 26 November 2021. The Action Plan is part of the Government’s obligation to implement the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Forced Labour Convention in addressing the vulnerability of migrant workers.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah said this is in line with the recommendations made by Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR). The action plan is guided by the fundamental principles of Sustainable Development Goals (Target 8.7), the ILO Forced Labour Protocol of 2014 and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In formulating the Action Plan, the Government is in close consultations with various stakeholders, including government agencies, SUHAKAM, business leaders, investor organisations, regulators, foreign missions, academia, and civil society. The move is to prevent and address the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity while private sectors also play a crucial role in upholding the principles of human rights. In addition, the Government through the Ministry of Human Resources has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on the recruitment and employment of foreign workers with several source countries in order to improve the governance of labour migration and to promote and protect the rights of foreign workers.
Dato’ Saifuddin’s keynote address was delivered by the Deputy Secretary General, Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Cheong Loon Lai at the opening of the AIBD/Safe & Fair Regional Media Dialogue on Senistising Media on Women’s Labour Migration hosted virtually from Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 30th November 2021.
Dato’ Saifuddin also stressed that Malaysia is committed in ensuring the protection of rights for women migrant workers in the country. Among others, the Government has undertaken rights-based approach and various measures to ensure the protection of women from violence through various programmes and activities, emphasising social welfare, protection, and social rights of women.
He cited that one of the initiatives specifically designed to address the challenges faced by women migrant labour in Malaysia is the Safe and Fair Project, implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) within the ambit of the ongoing MOU on Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) between Malaysia and the ILO. The project is supported by the European Union and jointly implemented by the ILO, UN Women and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
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