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:


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

IMA Statement on the Adoption of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) congratulates domestic workers organizations, migrants groups and advocates for the rights of migrant workers who have advocated for the passing of an international instrument that can be used for the further advancement of domestic workers rights. Despite attempts by some governments, particularly of the European Union, to water down key provisions, the ILO Committee on Domestic Workers adopted the Convention on Domestic Workers that constituted a big step towards its passing.

Among migrant workers, an overwhelming number are in the domestic work sector. The frequent global crisis has pushed more and more people  especially women to domestic work as socio-economic and political problems in migrant-sending countries escalate. Meanwhile, the labour market in migrant-importing countries has contracted to the point where migrant workers are relegated to the 3D jobs dirty, difficult and dangerous that include domestic work.

As domestic workers, migrants experience some of the worst kind of exploitation and abuse. Severely underpaid, overworked and discriminated in all spheres, domestic workers labour rights are routinely violated with impunity. They suffer from extreme physical, mental and sexual abuse, and even brutal deaths.
Labour laws were not made to cover domestic workers. Most are in live-in employment arrangement that keeps abuse and exploitation hidden from the public. The right to file grievances and seek redress is also denied from domestic workers not only because they are excluded from national labour laws but also due to other barriers such as insecurity of livelihood and lack of access to legal services that should be provided both by the sending and receiving governments of migrant workers.

Organizations of foreign domestic workers have been consistently struggling against policies and practices that impinge on the rights of domestic workers. National movements of migrants in different countries have worked to painstakingly build the solid strength of migrants to resist anti-migrants and anti-women laws like the wage campaign in Hong Kong, the struggle against the anti-migrant provisions of the Live-in Caregiver Program in Canada, the campaign against abuses in the Middle East, resistance against the exploitation of the au pair system in Europe, and many other issues.

Friday, April 15, 2011

IMA condemns NATO naval forces in Mediterranean for ignoring Libyan refugee distress call

For leaving 72 Libyan refugees to die at sea

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA), a global alliance of grassroots migrant organizations and their allied and support groups, condemn in the strongest terms the criminal abandonment by the NATO naval forces and other Western coast guards of 72 Libyan refugees adrift on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to a Council of Europe inquiry, around 5pm (GMT) of March 27 2011, a distress call was sent via satellite phone alerting coast guards about 72 Libyan refugees who left Tripoli early morning of the same day and were at that time drifting at the Mediterranean. While a helicopter was reportedly sent to drop food supplies to the refugees, not one ship or any other rescue mission was reportedly made. On April 2, on its seventh day in sea, people have started to die, and on April 10, the boat with only 11 people left eventually landed in Zitlan, Libya. Two out of the 11 died shortly after.

Although the area by which the boat was located is within the military zone controlled by NATO, and despite the fact that it had prior knowledge of the refugees’ condition, no rescue operation was carried out.

This 15-day Mediterranean ordeal of the 72 Libyan refugees could have been resolved if only the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces and Western coast guards units in the area were quick to respond, assist and rescue them. There were several occasions and opportunities in which assistance, attention and rescue could have been given yet apparently none were taken.

It is deplorable for such a strong institution like the NATO to abandon any possible support or assistance that can be easily extended to people in need like the 72 Libyan refugees. It is understandable that people will try to flee Libya, a country stricken with political and military conflict, and the likes of NATO and many governments in Europe should be aware of this reality and plan sufficient assistance measures.

This incident also begs the questions on the real objectives of NATO in intervening militarily in Libya and against Qaddafi. If the intent was really to “protect civilians” from human right violation by the Libyan armed forces, then why were the 72 drifting Libyan civilians needing rescue abandoned by NATO to their own terrible fate? And if the UN and NATO were so sincere about the civilian costs of war, then why were they not ready for the predictable influx of political refugees on their shores? What has happened speaks volumes on the hypocrisy of UN-backed “humanitarian missions,” which are often used as convenient smokescreens for US and NATO to make imperialist incursions in Third World countries.

Anyone in distress at sea, regardless of their race or status, should be given immediate attention. The IMA welcomes the resolution calling on European nations to take responsibility when states like Libya refuse or is unable to conduct actions like search and rescue.

According to a Europe-based human rights watchdog, 1,500 people died at sea trying to reach Europe in 2011.

For reference:
Eni Lestari, chairperson
(852) 9608 1475

Friday, April 1, 2011

2nd International Assembly of International Migrants' Alliance (IMA)

Manila, Philippines
July 3-4, 2011

I. Introduction

The IMA international founding assembly was held in Hong Kong in June 15 to 16, 2008 and attended by 167 delegates representing 118 organizations from 25 countries. Among these, 102 were present as founding members (regular and associate members) while 16 came as observers.

The assembly was highlighted with panel presentations and discussions on various issues and resistance of im/migrants, refugees and displaced people. Likewise, the assembly approved its Basis of Unity, Constitution and By-Laws and the General Program of Action (GPOA) for the next three years.

This year, the 2nd international assembly will be held and it will gather representatives of its member organizations in various countries worldwide in order to look back on the past three years and assess the levels of struggle and resistance as well as the levels of capacity and developments of the IMA in relation to various major issues confronting migrants. We shall look both into the victories of our struggles as well as look into the points where the IMA and its members can further improve. This is important in order to formulate a more objective plan of action of the international alliance for the coming years.

Thus, the 2nd assembly will focus more on strengthening the organizational capacity of the IMA (both as an alliance as well as its members) in order for it to be more effective in addressing various issues as well as strengthening unities within the IMA and raising the alliance in new levels of international solidarity and people’s resistance against imperialism.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Migrante BC (Canada) Salutes Courage of Denny’s Workers

As a community-based organization composed of Filipino caregivers, migrant workers, and immigrants, MIGRANTE-BC* (Canada) stands in steadfast solidarity with the more than 50 Filipino temporary foreign workers (TFWs) who recently launched the $10 million class action suit against Denny’s Restaurant.

In the suit, the workers allege that: Denny’s did not provide them the 40 hours of work each week as stipulated in their contract; did not pay them overtime; and was not providing their two-way airfare between Philippines and Canada. Further, the suit states that as per Canadian and Philippine regulations, Denny’s and its authorized agents ICEA and LUZERN violated these when it exacted from the workers up to $6,000 in the form of recruitment fees.

These breach of contract and unjust enrichment allegations committed by Denny’s against the TFWs are a clear violation of the rights and welfare of the temporary foreign workers hired by Denny’s.

We salute the courage of the TFWs to come forward and file this case. Given that many TFWs are threatened with deportation if they dare speak up, it is inspiring that the Denny’s TFWs have come forward to shed light on the exploited plight of TFWs in Canada.

There were approximately 280,000 TFWs in Canada last December 2009, with those from the Philippines comprising the largest number at around 51,000, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Common issues for many TFWs include low wages, lack of job security, lack of benefits, vulnerability to contract violations, separation from families and sub-standard living conditions.

Given that the Aquino administration in the Philippines is bent on heightening further its export of workers to Canada and around the world, it is certain that the number of TFWs facing conditions similar to that of the Denny’s workers will increase.

As such, MIGRANTE-BC recognizes the importance of this class suit to all TFWs across Canada. This is a precedent setting case whose impact will surely reverberate around the country, in the Philippines and beyond.

MIGRANTE-BC commits its support and solidarity to the Denny’s workers and pledges to educate, organize and mobilize the broadest number of migrant workers and their families to continue always the fight for the rights and welfare of all temporary foreign workers.

Leo Alejandria
Migrante BC (Canada)
February 12, 2011

*BC - initials of the province of British Columbia, Canada
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