November 24, 2008
Justice has been finally served for migrant activist Irene Fernandez.
The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) celebrates with Irene Fernandez as the Kuala Lumpur High Court has acquitted her today from all charges filed by the Malaysian government in 1996.
Today, the presiding judge Mohamad Apandi Ali reversed the 2003 conviction on Fernandez after the prosecution did not oppose the appeal of Fernandez "in the interest of justice."
Irene Fernandez is the director of Malaysia-based migrant institution Tenaganita and a member of the IMA International Coordinating Body.
It can be remembered that in 1996, the Malaysian government charged Fernandez of violating the Printing Presses and Publication Act of 1984 after she and Tenaganita exposed in a publication the inhumane conditions of captured undocumented workers in immigration detention cells.
Fernandez's acquittal is definitely an addition to the concrete gains of our movement. Truly, her victory is the victory for all migrant workers around the world.
It only proves the righteousness and strong foundation of Tenaganita's campaign to protect the rights of undocumented migrants in Malaysia and the need for the Malaysian government to address such urgent concern.
It is in then but proper for the Malaysian government to heed the ongoing campaign to recognize, respect and protect the rights and welfare of migrant workers in Malaysia, be they documented or not.
With her acquittal, we continue the campaign. With her victory, we continue the struggle.
Eni Lestari, Chairperson, International Migrants' Alliance