Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Round table on alliance building in Montreal

Montreal, June 28, 2009 -- In the wake of the successful 2nd National Migrant Justice Gathering held in Waterloo, IMA-Canada members in Montreal organized a successful round-table discussion on widening the migrant alliance in Quebec and Ontario with guests Ramon Bultron from Hong Kong and Alfredo Barahona from KAIROS.

Migrant workers from the Philippine Migrants Society of Canada / Pilipinong Migrante sa Canada (PMSC) based in Ottawa also attended the meeting held at the South Asian Womens Community Centre (SAWCC).

Friday, June 26, 2009

2nd National Migrant Justice Gathering held in Waterloo, Ontario

The Second National Migrant Justice Gathering was successfully held at the University of Waterloo, Canada, June 20-21, 2009. Members of IMA-Canada from Montreal, the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver joined migrant workers, union organizers from the Agricultural Workers Alliance and the United Food And Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), and advocates from across Canada to discuss how to strengthen networking and alliance building. The first national gathering of migrants had been held in 2006.

The participants heard testimonies from Filipina migrants working as Live-In Caregivers and Thai factory workers under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in Canada. Both groups raised the problem of the lack of control of unscrupulous recruitment agencies who charge huge sums to bring workers to Canada -- $13,000 in the case of one Thai worker.

The keynote speech was given by Ramon Bultron, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) in Hong Kong. "The most significant of the recent efforts to establish networks and alliances of migrants and advocates is the formation of the International Migrants Alliance," Bultron said. "In June, 2008, under the slogan, 'for years, others have spoken on our behalf, now we speak for ourselves' more than 110 groups from 25 countries met in Hong Kong for the founding assembly."

Bultron pointed out that more than 70% of IMA members are grassroots migrant workers as well as immigrants and that the first elected chairperson of the IMA, Eni Lestari, is an Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong.

Bultron invited participants to attend the upcoming Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR2) in Athens, Greece, this November 1-4, 2009. He explained that the IAMR was an alternative conference to the World Bank and IMF-backed Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) that would also take place in Athens in November. "Since migrant workers are essentially excluded from the GFMD, we considered it important once again to provide a place where migrants can 'speak out', network, and organize," Bultron said. The first IAMR was successfully held last year in Manila, Philippines.

Participants underlined the important role that Alfredo Barahona and Connie Sorio from KAIROS Canada had made to ensuring the successful holding of the 2nd national migrants gathering.

A coordinating group was set up during the conference to continue building alliances and helping to organize the third National Migrant Justice Gathering to be held in 2011, with the UFCW promising to help with translation facilities to make sure migrant workers can participate fully.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marriage migrants call for rights protection amidst global crisis

Statement released by AMMORE
(Action Network for Marriage Migrants Rights and Empowerment)

June 2009

On this traditional month for weddings
Marriage migrants call for rights protection amidst global crisis

The implementation of the policies of neoliberal globalization that led to the worst global recession has pushed women from underdeveloped and developing countries into transnational marriages that often put them in worse destitution, distress and death.

The traditional perception that getting married in June will bring a lifelong honeymoon all the more remains an illusion for women who grasp at the only opportunity to improve their condition which is marriage migration.

Without doubt, the proliferation of marriage bureaus, internet matchmaking, aggressive advertisements for brides on the media, and other modus operandi has eradicated the honor and dignity of marriage.

A record number of 300,000 Filipinos, 92 percent of whom are women, are married to foreigners mainly from the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Korea. This number has tripled in just a span of eight years from 7,819 in 1998 to 24,954 in 2006, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Apparently, the systematic export of people including marriage migrants has generated for the sending government, revenues in the form of fees that the foreign husbands pay to buy their foreign brides and the remittances that the women later send to their families that are desperately in need.

Despite all these profits, however, governments of countries of origin abandon their responsibility to protect their nationals who fall victims of domestic violence by their foreign husbands as well as discriminatory policies by the government in the country of destination.

To address their situation, the AMMORE (Action Network for Marriage Migrants’ Rights and Empowerment) vows to strengthen or help develop grassroots marriage migrants in the host countries and develop and strengthen the link with women organizations in both sending and receiving countries.

Upon its formation, network members immediately launched the “unVEIL!” campaign, which as the name connotes, uncovers the core of state repression that marriage migrants face like systematic discrimination and allowing the condition to perpetuate violence against women such as domestic violence, trafficking, statelessness, government neglect, loss of socio-economic opportunities, slavery and even death.

On this bridal month, AMMORE reiterates its commitment to pursue the unVEIL! campaign by encouraging marriage migrants to take action and unite together to fight for their rights and well-being.

In addition, AMMORE has designed a Comparative Research on Equity and Access for Marriage Migrants (Migration and Welfare Laws, Policies and Programs of Receiving Countries) ready for implementation in key countries such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.

Education work and public information are necessary for the marriage migrants to develop and empower themselves. Because of the unequal development of grassroots marriage migrants’ movement in every home and host country, it is quite significant to learn from the experiences of each country especially the advanced.

This is the purpose of an exchange visit that will be undertaken in Japan and South Korea next month. It is hoped that the experience will strengthen the marriage migrants’ unity, coordination and cooperation on crucial issues that affect their lives and their families. Also, this is a chance to lobby with government officials in the host country on the plight and protection of the rights of marriage migrants.

All these issues and concerns shall eventually cease for the marriage migrants through solidarity with strong and sustained internationally coordinated actions.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to become members of IMA-Canada

Dear friends in the IMA,

Warm greetings from Hong Kong!

The IMA Secretariat has been receiving emails from groups wanting to join the IMA. I am sure that some of you may have been receiving the same or are already recruiting.

In this regard, we would like to provide you with the process on how to become a member of the IMA. Based on Article V of the IMA's Constitution and By-laws:

a) Any interested organization may submit a letter of intention to any IMA member.
b) The member organization will forward this application/letter together with a letter of recommendation to the ICB.
c) The ICB will then decide whether to approve the application or not. Whatever the decision is, it will be reported to the IMA Assembly.

The requirements for membership are the following:

a) letter of intent
b) copy of the organization's constitution and bylaws
c) organization's program of activities

The membership form will be sent to the interested organization. Membership/annual fee is pegged at Euro 20 (CAN $35).

We hope that this information is helpful to everyone. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

In solidarity,

Rey Asis for the IMA Secretariat


For friends in Canada please contact IMA-Canada
or call +1514 342-2111 (pls leave message)

Pour nos ami-e-s québécois et canadiens, svp contacter IMA-Canada
tél: +1514 342-2111
(veuillez laisser un message)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Les masques de la discrimination

Stéphane Baillargeon
Le Devoir - lundi 01 juin 2009

Des travailleuses domestiques manifestent pour recevoir la protection de la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail (Photo: Jacques Grenier)

Malgré les demandes répétées de modifications de la loi, les aides domestiques du Québec, majoritairement originaires des Philippines, sont toujours exclues du régime de la santé et de la sécurité au travail. Elles manifestaient de nouveau hier contre cette situation jugée discriminatoire.

À peine deux douzaines de personnes ont manifesté hier matin au parc Nelson-Mandela de Montréal, contre l'exclusion des travailleuses domestiques du régime de santé et de sécurité au travail. Cette discrimination a été présentée comme un «apartheid social», d'où le choix symbolique du lieu de la manifestation.

La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse a également parlé d'une discrimination grave dans un avis déposé en décembre dernier. L'organisme a même évoqué une triple faute fondamentale puisque les personnes touchées sont écartées de la protection légale pour des raisons de sexe (il s'agit surtout de femmes), de condition sociale (elles sont pauvres) et d'origine ethnique (elles viennent très souvent des Philippines).

Pour la suite voir: http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/06/01/253006.html