Nurhasanah Arumsari Sihombing, 2012


Languages spoken: Bahasa Indonesia, English
Thesis Advisor: Professor Hurst Hannum 

The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers was adopted in 2007. The Declaration mandates its ten member states to promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages, and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers, and to establish an ASEAN legal instrument to guarantee such protection of the rights of migrants. The first concrete step following the Declaration was the establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW), with the responsibility to ensure the implementation of the commitments made under the declaration, and to work towards the development of an ASEAN framework instrument on migration. Since its formation, ACMW has made significant achievements, including adoption of a work plan, drafting of an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of migrant workers, and coordination of the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labor as a mechanism for regular dialogue and consultation on migrant labor issues.

The thesis analyzes how the ASEAN framework and mechanism should work on the protection of the rights of irregular migrant workers towards the ongoing drafting process of the instrument. In fact, despite its collective legal and moral commitment on human rights promotion and protection, made and enshrined in the ASEAN Charter and AMW Declaration, the process of drafting the AMW instrument remains deadlocked on the issue of covering undocumented migrant workers. The thesis considers how the obligation to protect the rights of undocumented migrant workers under international human rights instruments can be interpreted, and later incorporated, within the ASEAN framework mechanism, so as to provide legal protection for undocumented migrant workers in ASEAN. The arguments will be constructed based on ASEAN’s commitment to protecting human rights and upholding the international law as mandated in the ASEAN Charter, using non-discrimination principles as the basis. Suggestions resulting from this study have been outlined in the conclusion.


Nurhasanah Arumsari Sihombing received her bachelor in law (Sarjana Hukum) from Jenderal Soedirman University in Indonesia. She is a career diplomat as a member of the Indonesian diplomatic service since 2008. Prior to her study at The Fletcher School, Nurhasanah was assigned in the Directorate-General for Consular and Protocol Affairs at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was responsible in the field of protection of Indonesians overseas, providing legal assistance on various cases, including issues of migrant workers. Nurhasanah started her diplomatic career with a three-month, short-term posting in the Lao PDR, and a year of service at the Ministry’s Center for Education and Training, where she was in charge of handling (international) diplomatic training courses for senior diplomats. She has participated in various training programs, including the 7th International Futures Program in Berlin, Germany. She is a Kemlu-Fulbright recipient to attend the LL.M. program at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After graduation, Nurhasanah returned to Jakarta to her previous assignment at the Ministry’s Directorate of Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities. At the moment, she handles various legal issues regarding policies and cases of Indonesians overseas viz. in the American continent, Jordan, Malaysia, and Syria. While handling evacuation and repatriation of Indonesian citizens from conflict areas in Syria, as well as death penalty issues in Malaysia, she is also working on the drafting of ASEAN instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, which was her LLM thesis subject. Nurhasanah is currently a Third Secretary and looking forward to her diplomatic post overseas by 2013.