Grassroots migrants prepare to confront inter-government-led confab on migration and development
For grassroots migrants, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a process that shall intensify the labor export industry, aggravate the conditions in many backward and poor countries, and perpetuate forced migration of people. Its adherence to the framework of neoliberal globalization of the monopoly-capitalists shall make it so.
The 10 days leading to the GFMD, from October 19 to 29, shall be marked by the strongest opposition mounted by grassroots migrants all over the world. For 10 days, we shall shake the GFMD down to its core agenda.
The second GFMD is convened amidst the worsening crisis of the world’s capitalist countries that aggravates the condition of poverty and underdevelopment in the world. The promises of globalization have failed and instead of creating a better economy for everyone, it has greatly increased the disparity between superpower and poor economies and has plunged the globe into crisis and war.
Now, prodded by the world’s leading powers, many countries are jumping into the bandwagon of utilizing migration for development. While the GFMD nominally declares its non-adherence to such a policy, migration remains to be one of the main, if not the major, source of income that prop up sinking economies while also providing the needed cheap labor to work in factories, agriculture and service sector of the more advanced ones.
Combined remittance of migrants around the world total US$2.26 trillion dollars and such a huge amount is irresistible for monopoly capitalist banks as well as international financial institutions that are anxious for debt-ridden economies to pay off their loans.
The GFMD is not made for its supposed main stakeholders – the migrants themselves. What it aims to do is to cover up the devastating impacts of neoliberal globalization, address the crisis of monopoly-capitalist themselves and further constrict the severely limited “development aid” powerful countries and IFIs such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank give to underdeveloped countries.
For the GFMD to talk about the rights of migrants is devoid of sincerity and full of hypocrisy.
Violations of rights of migrants are rampant. To name a few: the arrest and threat of deportation of Chilean activist and political asylum seeker Victor Toro of the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant and Workers Rights in the United States; the torture, abuse and deportation of Bangladeshi workers from Malaysia; deportation of 1,000 Bangladeshi workers who went on strike due to non-payment of wage and other worker’s rights violations in Kuwait; the criminalization and violent crackdown of undocumented migrants in South Korea; labour rights violations against foreign workers in Canada; the unified contract in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the sponsorship system in the rest of the Middle East countries that is reminiscent of slave-buying; the proposed policy on undocumented migrants by the European Union that shall impose stiff penalties, detain, and blacklist arrested migrants, and; the continuing wage cuts, levy and discrimination against foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong.
Attacks to the rights of migrants, immigrants, refugees and other displaced people are happening everywhere, everyday. Ironically, the violators of the rights of migrants – through grave anti-migrant policies – are the same countries in the GFMD.
As the forum is to be held in Manila, it is evident that the GFMD holds in high-esteem the Philippine government’s system of labor export. To make the country a model of migration is short of scandalous given the Philippine government’s worse than poor record in upholding the rights of its overseas nationals.
Grassroots migrants shall let our stand be known and our voices heard during the GFMD.
We, who work in foreign households, labour in agricultural lands, sweat in factories and work in restaurants and other similar fields, will not stand aside as states discuss our future. Under their hands, there is nothing there for us but further exploitation and intensified commodification.
The International Migrants Alliance or IMA – formed and run by grassroots migrants – will be there to face the GFMD. Spanning the global regions of Asia-Pacific, Oceania, North America, Latin America and Africa, the 112-member organizations of the IMA effectively cover hundreds of thousands of grassroots migrants.
For years, many have spoken on our behalf. This time, we shall speak for ourselves and the GFMD is the most opportune period for us to speak out.
The “10 Days to Shake the GFMD” campaign will feature dramatic actions from different countries that will highlight the migrant’s national and international concerns. Such actions will complement the efforts of migrants and their families in the Philippines to bring out the migrant’s agenda to the GFMD.
IMA’s presence in all global regions will pose the most formidable challenge to the GFMD. We, being the grassroots migrants who are at the receiving end of numerous anti-migrant attacks, are the living proofs of the GFMD’s anti-migrant agenda and direction
This campaign shall culminate in the International Assembly on Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) on October 28 to 30. With the theme "Migrants' Challenge to the GFMD: End poverty, ensure jobs at home, stop forced migration! Uphold and Protect the rights of Migrants and Refugees!” the IAMR will be the genuine assembly of migrants where the real and concrete issues shall be discussed. The IAMR speaks for the grassroots migrants.
Our future is bleak and our rights are at stake in the GFMD. We vow to confront it with the power of the unified stand of grassroots migrants.#
Source: Press Statement International Migrant Alliance. August 17, 2008
Reference: Eni Lestari (Chairperson) -- Tel. No.: (852) 96081475
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