UN General Assembly adopts PH-sponsored resolutions on violence against women migrant workers

The United Nations General Assembly recognized the need to further protect and uphold the rights of women migrant workers including their children by adopting a resolution sponsored by the Philippines and Indonesia on December 18.

“It then turned to the Third Committee’s report “Advancement of women” (document A/68/449), containing four draft resolutions and a draft decision. Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the following draft resolutions: “Violence against women migrant workers”; “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women”; “Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas”; and “Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly,” UN’s official website reported.

In the said resolution, all governments are advised to “strongly encourage all stakeholders, especially the private sector, including employment agencies involved in recruiting migrant workers, to strengthen the focus on and funding support for the prevention of violence against women migrant workers…”

The resolution also emphasized the “importance of the promotion and protection of the rights of women migrant workers and stresses the need for cooperation and shared responsibility of all stakeholders, in particular countries of origin, transit and destination, to promote an environment that prevents and addresses violence against women migrant workers.”

It also urged governments around the world to “consider allowing, under national legislation, women migrant workers who are victims of violence to apply for residency permits independently of abusive employers or spouses, and to eliminate abusive sponsorship systems.”

Said biennial resolution was supported by 53 co-sponsors from across all regions.

With the mounting trend of feminization of labor migration in the Philippines, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) expects that through the UN’s adoption of this resolution, policies and programs around the world will provide full protection of Filipino migrant women’s rights and pave way to enhancing the responsiveness of government programs and service delivery.

The commission believes that the women’s vulnerabilities during migration become higher; hence, governments must ensure the safety and security of migrant women, particularly against discrimination, exploitation, sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

As governments are called to guarantee women migrant workers’ rights, private institutions and stakeholders around the world are also urged to provide transparent and gender-sensitive mechanisms at their respective workplaces. Governments and private sectors must recognize that women migrant workers, regardless of their immigration status, have major contributions in the economy.