By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
28 November 2012
We, the International League of Peoples´ Struggle (ILPS), are elated that the International Migrants Tribunal is undertaking the highly important task of trying the case filed by Migrante International, Gabriela, Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (ATKI-Indonesia), Caravan, Voice Refugee Forum and Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, on behalf of all migrants workers in the world, against the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the heads of state involved.
We express appreciation to the prominent individuals who have agreed to serve as judges, to those who act as prosecutors, to those who are witnesses and to all the delegations from organizations that are concerned with migration, especially the promotion of migrants’ rights and welfare. We are proud to be one of the co-organizers of the two-day trial, along with the International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA), the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) and the Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM). Inasmuch as this political event is being held in Manila, we have directed the ILPS- Philippine chapter to provide the utmost support and assistance within its ability.
The migrant workers comprise a significant productive force in the world. They are the most exploited and oppressed workers in the developed countries. They receive the lowest level of wages and are deprived of the rights and standard wage and living conditions of workers in the host countries. The imperialist powers have designed the over-all neoliberal policy on migrant workers: to use them at the least cost in order to aid production and improve the quality of life in the developed host countries and to use their earnings to fund the consumption-oriented economies of their underdeveloped home countries.
It is necessary and important for the ILPS, the entire anti-imperialist movement and the people of the world to pay close attention to the plight and just cause of the migrant workers. In this regard, we must persevere in confronting the GFMD and the heads of state that are active in it and hold them responsible for pursuing and carrying out the neoliberal economic policy on migration and for committing grievous wrongs and injustices against the millions of migrant workers and their families.
Altogether the GFMD and the states have adopted migration policies in line with the neoliberal agenda of generating and exploiting cheap and pliant labor for export and effecting modern-day slavery. Migrant workers are the result of underdevelopment and the lack of jobs in the sending countries.
But the hard-earned foreign exchange earnings of migrant workers are sucked up by governments that extort exorbitant fees and various private exploiters (recruiting agencies, remittance centers, banks, marketing companies, and so on) and are used for anti-industrial purposes that aggravate and deepen underdevelopment. And yet the GFMD harps on the lie that migration leads to development.
Both the sending and receiving states connive in exploiting the migrant workers and violating their political, economic, social and cultural rights. The migrant workers are subjected to low wages, substandard working conditions, limited benefits, discrimination and insecurity. Immigration laws are biased for facilitating the criminalization of migrant workers and for inflicting on them violent and inhuman treatment.
Women migrant workers are oppressed. They are made vulnerable to gender-based violence and other forms of abuse. There are no effective mechanisms in place to protect the migrant workers from falling victims to human traffickers and organized crime syndicates which intimidate and kill their prey.
But on a far wider scale, especially because of the crisis of global capitalism, reactionary currents of xenophobia, racial discrimination and religious bigotry are rising in a futile attempt of the big bourgeoisie and its political and media agents to conceal the roots of the crisis. Imperialist wars of aggression and armed counterrevolutions in a number of countries have caused displacement and grave difficulties for migrant workers. And the governments and international agencies concerned have not provided timely and sufficient protection to the migrant workers.
The trial must uphold the rights of the migrant workers, hold the culprits to account and condemn the acts and omissions in violation of such rights enshrined in the following legal instruments: 1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 2) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; 3) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; 4) International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; 5) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; 6) Convention on the Rights of the Child; 7) International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; 8 ) The Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol; 9) Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; 10) European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols; 11) ILO Migration for Employment Convention (Revised); and 12) ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189).
We wish that the trial achieve the utmost success in exposing the wrongs and injustices done to the migrant workers, in upholding their rights and in rendering them justice. We are confident that the judges will render a judgment that shall be effective in enlightening the people about the plight of migrant workers and promoting their just cause.
We are also confident that the prosecutors and witnesses present clearly the wrongs and injustices done to the migrant workers and provide the strong basis for a clear judgment. Thus, the trial will succeed in highlighting the resistance of the migrant workers against the violations of their rights and in inspiring the migrant workers, their direct supporters and the entire people to raise the struggle to a new and higher level for upholding, defending and advancing the rights of migrant workers.###