Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Struggle for genuine development and justice for migrants and the people! Struggle and win!

Statement of the IMA on December 18 2014 International Migrants Day

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) commemorates this year’s International Migrants Day with greater resolve to advance the struggle for the protection of our rights and dignity, the end to modern-day slavery and the resolution of the root causes of forced migration.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih is the image of this struggle that we are pursuing steadfastly.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih
Erwiana is the young Indonesian domestic worker who was subject to physical abuse and torture from her employer in Hong Kong last year. Her sufferings depict the countless number of physical abuse, harassment and intimidation, exploitation and oppression that many migrant workers experience. Her strength and will to fight for justice in her ongoing case against her employer also symbolizes the willingness of migrants – migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, immigrants – to collectively fight.

It is her sufferings that belie the pronouncements of development in the world today. She and the 232 million international migrants paint the real picture of forced migration – both a symptom and the result of the intensifying, protracted and prolonged crisis of imperialism.

Neoliberal globalization has caused this phenomenon and continues to aggravate it. The implementation of neoliberal policies has only led to massive landlessness, deindustriualization, environmental degradation and wave upon wave of global economic crisis that caused the dissolution of public services and utilities, skyrocketing of prices of goods, displacement of peoples, unemployment and abject poverty. Without work or salaries to live their families by, many are forced to find work abroad – a phenomenon that many governments have developed into labor export policy.

It is with the same neoliberal framework that the leaders within the United Nations are also aiming to optimize migration for development. Instead of addressing the root causes of forced migration, they only mean to maximize the remittances sent by migrants and facilitate migration all in the name of development. As governments beautify slavery by promoting migration for development through the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the situation of migrants has only worsened over time. Migrants experience oppression in the workplace, visa restrictions, arrest and deportation, social exclusion, among others.

But there can be no genuine development for the people under this current system. A system that prioritizes capitalist profit over the rights, demands and dignity of peoples. A system that lets modern-day slavery and oppression to prevail.

Yet we are strengthened, inspired and with firm resolve to fight this system. We are strengthened by the likes of Erwiana who have decided to stand up against oppression and abuse. We are inspired by the late Irene Fernandez who has committed her life in defending the rights of migrants and challenging a system of oppression. We are filled with resolve as many migrants all over the world decide to be organized and collectively advance the international migrant movement.

Next year 2015 we will bring the battles in all fronts. We will engage governments of both our host and home countries and challenge them to junk anti-migrant laws and create ones that ensure the protection of our rights and stop oppression and discrimination. We will engage in the international debates and platforms and expose and oppose their scheme to make migration as a tool for development. We will enjoin and encourage all migrants, our families and our local brothers and sisters to strengthen solidarity and demand an end to modern-day slavery and forced migration.

Because we are worth more than the remittances and dollars we send. Because we are workers, not slaves.

For reference: Eni Lestari, IMA chairperson (+852-96081475)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Statement of Migrante International on May Day 2012

Migrante International marches today with the working people of the world in the fight against imperialist plunder and war that continue to threaten the lives and welfare of peoples, migrants and migrant workers, particularly overseas Filipinos and their families.

Today, Migrante International unites with other sectors of Philippine society to condemn the Aquino administration’s puppetry and policy of subservience to foreign dictates that perpetuate the present worsening socio-economic crisis in the Philippines.

Under Aquino, OFWs and their families have suffered and continue to suffer. Thousands upon thousands of urban poor families have been displaced through violent demolition of their homes. Farmers and farm workers have been driven off their lands by landlords, hacienderos and corporate land-grabbers. The environment is being plundered by big foreign corporations. Oil prices and costs of other basic commodities continue to surge while wages are fixed at lowest levels and unemployment is record-high – all in the name of neoliberal policies being pushed by Aquino’s imperialist masters.

Aquino’s puppetry goes beyond economic plunder. The Visiting Forces Agreement, the expanded Balikatan exercises and the Aquino government’s all-out support to imperialist war-mongering are testament to Aquino’s adherence to a one-sided foreign policy at the expense of national security and sovereignty.  Furthermore, in accordance with the US Counter-Insurgency Strategy (US COIN), the Aquino administration and the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) enforce the Oplan Bayanihan which, like Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Banty-Laya, aims to quell dissent and suppress civil liberties.

For the migrant sector, conditions have gone from bad to worse. The Aquino government has failed over and over again to protect and uphold the rights of OFWs, especially those in distress and those displaced by wars and the global economic crisis.

The Aquino administration’s continuous intensification of a labor export policy despite escalating violence and conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions and the worsening global economic crisis has aggravated forced migration, driving Filipino workers to leave their families and homeland at great risks and difficulties abroad.

Nothing short of the reversal of the present system will put an end to forced migration, poverty and social injustice. Past and present experiences have revealed the bankruptcy of the labor export policy, of the present economic system. For as long as there is landlessness, no domestic jobs are available, and prices continue to soar sky-high, OFWs will be forced to seek employment abroad despite the ongoing global economic crisis that continues to displace thousands of OFWs or place them in imminent danger or war.

On Labor Day 2012, Migrante International salutes all workers and migrant workers alike for continuing to organize and persisting in the struggle for freedom, national democracy and sovereignty. Workers of the world, unite!  ###

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, +63 939-391-4418

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How US Policies Fueled Mexico's Great Migration

David Bacon

This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation. Some names of the people profiled in this article have been changed.

Roberto Ortega tried to make a living slaughtering pigs in Veracruz, Mexico. “In my town, Las Choapas, after I killed a pig, I would cut it up to sell the meat,” he recalls. But in the late 1990s, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up Mexican markets to massive pork imports from US companies like Smithfield Foods, Ortega and other small-scale butchers in Mexico were devastated by the drop in prices. “Whatever I could do to make money, I did,” Ortega explains. “But I could never make enough for us to survive.” In 1999 he came to the United States, where he again slaughtered pigs for a living. This time, though, he did it as a worker in the world’s largest pork slaughterhouse, in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

For complete article :

Saturday, December 17, 2011

International Migrants Day 2011: Migrants of the world, rise up against imperialism!

Resist commodification, modern-day slavery and other imperialist attacks on migrants and the people!

Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the International Migrants Day 2011

The International Migrants Day 2011 is commemorated amidst intensified attacks on the livelihood and rights of migrants under the worsening global economic and financial crisis brought about and intensified by imperialist globalization and war. At the same time, the day is remembered amidst an upsurge of people’s movements against imperialism and the advancement of the militant migrants’ movement worldwide.

For migrants, immigrants, refugees and other displaced peoples, the global crisis has resulted to even more severe, exploitative and oppressive condition as both the countries of destination and countries of origin try to squeeze the maximum of profits and benefits from the commodification and modern-day slavery of migrants.

Such imperialist framework on migration is best exhibited in the Global Forum on Migration and Development that remains now as the multilateral venue for the more powerful countries to shape migration and migration policies according to their own interests. They use mantras of development and cooperation, and pay lip service on migrant’s rights to muddle the waters and hide the exploitative agenda of imperialism and the ruling class of countries of destination and countries of origin.

While already discredited among the grassroots migrants and advocates, the GFMD is still being used to counter the exposition of the grassroots migrants on the inhumanity, injustice and indignity brought about by commodification and modern-day slavery.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

IMA leads counter-GFMD protest in front of United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) Europe section led a militant protest picket in front of the UN Complex in Geneva, Switzerland last December 1, to protest the holding of the 5th GFMD in Geneva and to say no to the GFMD,
The IMA held banners and posters which said: NO to the GFMD! UPHOLD the Rights of the Undocumented! No to the EU Return Directive! No to the Criminalization and Deportation of the Undocumented! Development for the People, NOT for Banks and Corporations!
Grassroots migrant and refugee and advocate participants came from Nigeria, Germany, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and the Philippines.
The protest picket was the highlight of the successful two-day counter-GFMD activities (that included discussions of the IMA critique on the GFMD, workshop and forum on the IMA-initiated campaign on the undocumented) organized and led by the IMA Europe in Geneva, Switzerland that started  November 30, to further expose the anti-migrant framework of the GFMD and to fight the GFMD's vision to further exploit migrants and refugees and undermine their rights by utilizing them to boost state revenues and big corporate profits.
Representatives of Swiss Trade Unions, the Swiss Labor Party, World Council of Churches, Swiss Protestant Churches, Network of Swiss NGOs, respected human rights lawyers, and Filipino migrants in Geneva, participated and supported the IMA-led counter-GFMD activities. #

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let the genuine voice of migrants and refugees echo in Geneva to the GFMD!

As a migrant and refugee organization, advocate and friend, we invite you to join “MIGRANTS Counter to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)”– includes two events organized by the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), to be held 30 November- 1st December 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland.

From  the GFMD in Manila 2008, Athens 2009, and Mexico 2010,  the IMA mobilized thousands of grassroots migrant/refugee organizations and their allies to  expose and oppose the GFMD as a neo-liberal tool to further exploit the migrants and make use of them as instruments for development schemes sponsored by state and international financial institutions. IMA raised the calls: NO TO GFMD, NO TO FORCED MIGRATION, UPHOLD MIGRANT RIGHTS AND WELFARE. There is still a need to expose the GFMD, since it continues to  peddle its discredited  and deceptive framework.

In previous counter-GFMD activities, IMA dealt with  specific country, regional and international  issues. This year, IMA is consulting with various organizations for the launching of an internationally-coordinated campaign on the undocumented/irregular migrant.

The events to which you are invited to share your views are:

Event 1: Consultation Meeting on an internationally -coordinated Campaign to Protect and Uphold Rights of Undocumented: Focus on Criminalization/Deportation and Regularization
Date: 30 November Time: 18:00 – 20:30 hrs. Place: Maisons des Associations
Program: Testimonies on the plight and struggle of the undocumented, Sharings with trade unions/NGOs and Campaign Planning and sharing on the findings of a Survey on the DECLINE OF THE GFMD 

Event 2: NO TO GFMD demonstration/mobile picket to further expose and oppose the GFMD and for solidarity with the undocumented/irregular migrants
Date: 1 December Time: 1700-1900 hrs. Venue: “The Chair”, Palais de Nations
Program: speeches, street cultural activities

Main calls: NO TO GFMD, NO to criminalization/deportation of the undocumented, YES to regularization, Uphold Migrant Rights

Together, we will OCCUPY GENEVA to denounce the elitist GFMD, raise our issues and forge our solidarity.

Kindly confirm your attendance and participation in the  two events.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

UFCW Canada offers 20 scholarships to children of temporary foreign workers in Canada

Migration and the hope of providing a better future for our children have always gone hand in hand. As the largest private-sector union in Canada, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada understands the importance of education. As such, we are offering 20 scholarships for the children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews of migrant workers.

Each scholarship is in the amount of $500 CDN. In 2010, UFCW Canada’s Migrant Workers Scholarships generated over 4,000 applications from around the globe and produced five extraordinary recipients.
Application Deadline:
December 31, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Only those accepted to receive the scholarships will be notified via registered mail or email by March 31, 2012.
Scholarship Criteria:
Only those persons who entered Canada to work under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program such as a live-in caregiver, a seasonal agriculture worker, or a temporary foreign worker in any industry  (“the Applicant”) are eligible to apply. An Applicant can nominate his/ her children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews.

The Nominee Child may be living in any country, can be of any nationality, must be between 4-25 years of age, and must be attending or hoping to attend an educational institution.

The Application Form must be fully completed to be considered and shall not be returned. The decision of UFCW Canada in awarding the Scholarships is final and not subject to review or scrutiny.

For more details: