Speaking at the 30th ASEAN summit in Manila, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has lambasted the regional association for failing to protect migrant workers in its member states.
ASEAN had failed to push for a declaration on the promotion and protection of migrant workers’ rights, Jokowi said on Saturday.
Indonesia has millions of legal and illegal migrant workers overseas, and they frequently suffer discrimination amid insufficient protection from the countries where they are working.
“The slogan of people-centered and people-oriented should not be just words, but it must be implemented,” Jokowi told leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries during a plenary session at the summit.
The President said migrant workers had to be protected, as they deserved equal rights with people living in the country where they were working.
He added that the people-centered and people-oriented slogan also had to be implemented by ASEAN member countries to ensure the safety of fishermen in the region.
Indonesian sailors have been abducted on several occasions by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in southern Philippine waters.
“Sailors in ASEAN have to feel safe in sailing in waters in the region. The human rights of people in the ASEAN region must be protected,” Jokowi added.