By Veronica Uy
First Posted 18:09:00 08/18/2008
MANILA, Philippines—An international coalition of overseas workers and migrants' rights advocates vowed Monday to stage "the strongest opposition" against the Second Global Forum on Migration and Development that the Philippines will host in October.
"The 10 days leading to the GFMD, from October 19 to 29, shall be marked by the strongest opposition mounted by grassroots migrants all over the world,” Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance, said in an e-mail to media outlets.
“For 10 days, we shall shake the GFMD down to its core agenda," Lestari said.
Lestari said the "10 Days to Shake the GFMD" campaign will feature dramatic actions from different countries that will highlight migrants' national and international concerns.
Noting that the forum will take place in the middle of a crisis, Lestari said the GFMD will only "intensify the labor export industry, aggravate the conditions in many backward and poor countries, and perpetuate forced migration of people."
Arguing against globalization in general and state-sanctioned labor migration, the IMA chairperson said globalization has increased the disparity between rich and poor countries, and has caused the present global crisis. On the other hand, labor migration has become a major source of income for poor countries.
Lestari also said that while combined remittance of migrant workers around the world total $2.26 trillion, the main stakeholders -- the migrants themselves -- are not party to the forum.
"For the GFMD to talk about the rights of migrants is devoid of sincerity and full of hypocrisy,” Lestari said.
“Attacks to the rights of migrants, immigrants, refugees, and other displaced people are happening everywhere, every day. Ironically, the violators of the rights of migrants -- through grave anti-migrant policies -- are the same countries in the GFMD," Lestari said.
The IMA leader also criticized the GFMD organizers for holding the Philippine labor export in high esteem, calling it "scandalous given the Philippine government's worse than poor record in upholding the rights of its overseas nationals."
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