October 21, 2010 -- The Third International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR3) will take place November 6-8 in Mexico City, coinciding with the Fourth Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on November 10, 2010. The IAMR3 follows the First International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees in Manila in 2008 and IAMR2 whick took place in Greece in 2009.
Convened by fifteen international organizations from Mexico, the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America working towards rights and justice for migrants, a key goal of the IAMR3 is to demonstrate broad, strong resistance to the Fourth GFMD, a conference of United Nations Member States whose central theme is “Partnerships for Migration and Development: Shared Prosperity – Shared Responsibility”. The prime concern of the IAMR3 is the GFMD’s emphasis on “managing” migration for economic benefits rather than looking to address the substantial social costs.
“There is no consideration for the root causes of migration or the difficult and often abusive conditions facing migrants. Rather, migration is perceived as a tool for economic development with individual migrants valued only for the dollars they send back home,” says Julia Camagong, coordinator of the international secretariat of IAMR3.
Nearly one billion people – one in seven – are migrants. They are fleeing war, persecution, poverty and environmental disasters. In countries such as the Philippines, remittances have become the largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Rather than address the rights’ violations, poor working conditions and abuse of migrants, not to mention the closing of borders and crackdown on undocumented migrants, government stakeholders are working to extract the most possible from migrants world wide. The importance placed on remittances by financial institutions such as the World Bank can be gleaned by this statement: “remittances are expected to remain more resilient than private capital flows and will become even more important as a source of external financing in many developing countries.”
According to Eni Lestari, the chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance:
“Migrants’ remittances have surpassed Official Development Assistance by 300%! Neoliberal globalization has not brought Third World countries any closer to the eradication of global poverty and unemployment. It looks like UN member states are trying to remedy the global financial crisis on the backs of migrant workers.”
Leading up to the IAMR3 and GFMD counter events, an International Tribunal of Conscience, will be held,a peoples’ trial which will hear testimonials of migrants, refugees and displaced peoples who have been victimized by anti-migrant policies, abusive working situations, unscrupulous employers and placement agencies, deportation and imprisonment. The first hearing of the Tribunal is taking place this week at the Fourth World Social Forum on Migration in Quito, Ecuador. The outcome of the Tribunal will be presented at the IAMR3.
That the IAMR3 will take place in Mexico is significant not only to denounce the Fourth GFMD but to draw attention to Mexico’s role in the export of people. Mexico is one of the largest senders or exporters of migrant labor in the world today, with 10% of its population working and living overseas as migrants or immigrants. Large numbers of Mexican migrants continue to be deported, particularly from the US. Many face poor treatment, including imprisonment and criminal charges, on return to Mexico.
In addition to the November 6-8 Assembly, IAMR3 events will include a People’s Caravan departing November 8 for Guadalajara en route to Puerto Vallarta for a mass action to denounce the GFMD program. This important series of actions represents the continuing struggle of migrant workers and advocates to expose the anti-people anti-migrant objectives of the GFMD and its member countries. Migration is not a solution to the global economic crisis. People fleeing poverty and war for survival should not have to pay for the failure of neo-liberal globalization.
For additional information please go to iamr3.org
To organize interviews or speak with organizers please contact:
Mexico - Dr. Camilo Pérez Bustillo, Profesor-Investigador, Posgrado para la Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, Cel. 04455 2944 7511
Canada - Tess Tesalona, member of the International Coordinating body for the IAMR3 and – of International Migants’ Alliance. Email: tess_iwc (at) yahoo.com
USA - Julia Camagong – National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)Email: juyacam (at) yahoo.com
Hongkong – Eni Lestari, Chair International Migrants’ Alliance,Email: lestarihk (at) gmail.com