Indonesia’s Promotion of UN Migrant Protection Norms in ASEAN

Ruji Auethavornpipat, Wayne Palmer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Scholars have devoted insufficient attention to Indonesia’s foreign policy on migrant worker protection, especially as mobilized in multilateral institutions. This article addresses such knowledge gaps by analyzing why Indonesia has, for almost two decades, persistently promoted the United Nations Migrant Worker Convention in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) despite constant pushback from migrant-receiving countries. It argues that Indonesia’s persistence is driven by its locally constituted meaning of migrant worker rights. In particular, this article advances the critical norms approach in international relations to demonstrate that its interpretation is influenced by “Indonesia’s normative baggage,” or past experiences with labour migration that have too frequently dealt with the exploitation of Indonesian citizens abroad. This normative baggage in turn shapes the country’s diplomacy and promotion of convention standards deemed appropriate for safeguarding Indonesian migrants in ASEAN. In presenting the argument, this article contributes to the study of labour migration by scrutinizing Indonesia’s foreign policy on migrant protection and unpacking norm interpretation processes that are necessary in international negotiations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-97
    JournalPacific Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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