Montreal, November 11, 2008 -- The International Migrants’ Alliance - Canada (IMA - Canada) expresses our strongest condemnation of the arbitrary arrest of Ramesh Tufan, International Coordinating Body (ICB) member of the IMA and chief of the department of foreign affairs of the Nepal Labour Organization, an active affiliate of the IMA. We demand his immediate and unconditional release.
IMA – Canada is the Canadian section of a global alliance of 118 grassroots associations, organizations, unions, networks and alliances of migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and displaced peoples from 25 countries.
According to reports, Mr. Tufan was arrested by the Malaysian police upon his arrival at the Malaysian airport after attending the International Assembly for Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) in Manila, Philippines on October 28-29, 2008. The IAMR was a counter conference to the second Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which was also held in Manila.
The arrest of Mr. Tufan, a leader of migrant workers and advocate of the rights of migrants around the world, is highly questionable and is a clear and concrete violation of his rights.
IMA – Canada represents the interests of migrant and immigrant workers across Canada. We understand the crucial role that migrant workers play here in Canada and in countries like Malaysia, which has a huge migrant population. Both countries cannot survive without the skills and hard work of migrants like Mr. Tufan. We are very concerned about his arrest and ask the Malaysian government to reverse what we see as a wrong and misguided decision. We believe this arbitrary arrest casts a very negative light on Malaysia's treatment of its migrant workers.
We firmly request that you correct this error immediately and release Mr. Tufan with an apology and just compensation.
In a democracy it is imperative that errors be corrected and that wrong decisions be reversed immediately. Mr. Tufan has committed no crimes. He has only stood up strongly to protect the rights and welfare of the millions of migrant workers around the globe. He deserves a medal, not imprisonment.
We, as members if the International Migrants' Alliance – Canada, demand his immediate and unconditional release.
for IMA - Canada