International Migrants' Tribunal on the GFMD
Finds 37 States Guilty of Modern-day Slavery
Part I

 

Malcolm Hall, UP Diliman campus

 

November 28-29,  2012

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MESSAGE TO THE INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS' TRIBUNAL
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.###



 

Click here for video


 


Prof. Osamu Niikura, Chair (Japan)
 

 Bishop Soritua Nababan (Indonesia)
 

 Ana Lorena Delgadillo (Mexico)
 

Monique Wilson (Philippines)
 


Dr. Roland Tolentino (Philippines)

 

           
           
     
     
     

 

Welcome Remarks:
The International Migrants’ Tribunal on the Global Forum on Migration and Development

Judy M. Taguiwalo, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Women and Development Studies
University of the Philippines Diliman
November 28, 2012


Honorable Judges of the International Migrants Tribunal: Bishop Soritua Nababan of the World Council of Churches, Osama Niikura of the Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association, Monique Wilson of the New Voice Company and beloved sister in the journey to end all forms of violence against women, Companera Ana Lorena Delgadillo of Mexico and Dean Roland Tolentino of the College of Mass Communications of this University;
 

Migrants and migrant advocates from all over the world;
 

Magandang umaga. Good morning.
 

I have been requested by the organizers of this historic International Migrants’ Tribunal to welcome you to the University of the Philippines. This University was established by the American colonizers in 1908 as a training ground for Filipino professionals, technocrats and bureaucrats in the service of the colonial agenda and in the maintenance of a semi-feudal system. This role remains even after independence in form but not in substance was declared in 1946. It is still the University’s role up to now.
 

However, through the painstaking struggles of generations of UP students, faculty and staff, this University has served, at various times and various means, as a critical conscience of the nation, as a militant center for resisting tyranny and dictatorship and for advocating democratic reforms in Philippine society as well as in declaring international solidarity with oppressed peoples and nations.
 

The university community participated in the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and in the ouster of another corrupt President in 2001. Students, faculty and staff have supported the masses of workers and peasants in their just struggle for jobs, land and rights and the University community has learned much from the Filipino working class’ persistence and militancy. We have marched against the US wars of aggression against Vietnam in the past and more recently against the US so- called war on terror. We have sided with the Palestinian people against the occupation of their territory by Israel. And this university community, the university within the university, has always critiqued and resisted imperialist globalization and its manifold attacks on people’s lives, land, jobs, social services and humanity.
 

Thus the University of the Philippines, as the site of this first ever International Migrants’ Tribunal which puts on trial the Global Forum on Migration and Development and its neoliberal globalization design on migration, is a continuation of the university community’s militant tradition of serving as a social critique, of expanding the space for people’s democratic rights and of building solidarity with oppressed peoples and sectors and supporting their resistances.
 

As a Professor of Women and Development Studies in this University, I am particularly happy that the university and myself are part of this expose of the oppressive policies and programs of the Global Forum on Migration and Development as we all know that women comprise the majority of land-based migrant workers globally. Migrant women suffer extreme violence and abuse because of their gender and their vulnerable location in the international division of labor. I am confident that this Tribunal as a two-day political event will not only unfold the accountability of governments of both sending and receiving countries in the exploitation, deprivation and abuse of migrant workers, women and men alike, but also draw out the courageous resistances of our migrant sisters and brothers.
 

Again welcome, a very warm welcome to the University of the Philippines. I wish this Tribunal great success which shall translate into the further empowerment of our migrant workers and their organizations and the building of a stronger international solidarity against neoliberal globalization.
 

Maraming salamat. Thank you.
 

Judy M. Taguiwalo, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Women and Development Studies

Message of Prof. Jose Maria Sison on video
     
Expert Witnesses
     
Dr. Irene Fernandez (Malaysia, via Skype)
           
     
Antonio Tujan (Philippines) Jose Jacques Medina (Mexico)
     

 

Int’l migrants’ court finds 37 States guilty of modern-day slavery
Posted by admin on 11/29/12 • Categorized as News Releases

The first ever International Migrants’ Tribunal found 37 migrant-sending and -receiving States, including the Philippines, guilty of perpetuating modern-day slavery on migrant workers.

The Tribunal was held at the University of the Philippines College of Law on November 28-29. It was attended by at least 300 delegates from the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Australia, Latin America and United States.

The Tribunal’s panel of judges delivered the verdict this morning, concluding the two-day proceedings that highlighted testimonies from witnesses consisting of complainants from grassroots migrants’ organizations representing migrant workers, refugees, domestic workers, undocumented or irregular migrants, women migrants and expert witnesses.

The judges of the Tribunal were invited by the organizers Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) on the basis of their expertise, competence, probity, objectivity and independence to hand down a credible and judgment or verdict. (Please see attached profile of judges)

The Tribunal put into trial the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and its neoliberal globalization design on migration. It examined cases of violations of migrants’ rights by States and featured the resistance of grassroots migrants against modern-day slavery.

The 37 States found guilty are Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. They were found guilty on three charges, namely:

Violation of the Complainants’ human rights.

Criminal neglect of Complainants’ economic rights and violation of their political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Sending States.

Violation of the Complainants’ political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Receiving States. (Please see attached copy of verdict)

They were also found guilty of violating provisions and principles embodied, among others, in the:

a. 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

b. 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

c. 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

d. 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;

e. The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol;

f. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

g. 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

h. 1984 Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

i. 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child;

j. 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols;

k. ILO Migration for Employment Convention (Revised); and

l. ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189).

The verdict will be submitted to the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development which will convene in New York, USA in 2013.

On November 30, judges, witnesses and delegates of the Tribunal from will participate in the big multisectoral rally in commemoration of the 149th birth anniversary of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio. ###

 

Witnesses
     
Eri Lestani (Indoneisa)
Rex Osa Aghedo (Germany)
Luz Miriam Jaramillo (Italy)
Viviana Medina Velasguez (Mexico)
           
     
Gerry Gacud (Seafarers, Philippines) Garry Martinez (Philippines)
     
     


First ever int’l court on migrants tries exploitation of foreign workers
Posted by admin on 11/28/12 • Categorized as News Releases

An international court, the first on the theme of migrants, was convened today at the University of the Philippines College of Law to hear charges of exploitation and human rights violations by States, both that receive and send migrant labour.
 

Organized by the International Migrants Alliance, International League of Peoples Struggle, International Women’s Alliance and the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, the Tribunal was held to try the Global Forum on Migration and Development thru its Steering Committee composed of 37 states for charges of using migration to advance neoliberal globalization policies and the violation by sending and receiving states of the economic, social, cultural and political rights of migrants.
 

“This is an international opinion tribunal that aims to air out the sentiments of grassroots migrants on the current trend of the so-called maximization of migration for national development instead of solving the roots causes of the forced migration of hundreds of millions of people. It also aims to highlight the worsening violations of the rights of migrants to once and for all end the pretension of States in the GFMD that they are concerned with migrants’ rights,” said Ramon Bultron of the IMA.
 

A panel of judges heard testimonies given by experts on migration and migrant workers from various countries who have suffered from migrants’ rights violations. The panel was composed of Osamu Niikura from Japan of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Bp. Soritua Nababan from Indonesia of the World Council of Churches, Filipina theater actress and women’s rights activists Monique Wilson, Mexican human rights lawyer Ana Lorena Delgadillo Perez, and UP College of Mass Communications Dean Roland Tolentino.
 

The witnesses gave testimonies on themes such as migration for development, condition of migrants, human rights violations of migrants from Latin America, on the labor export program and the violations of rights of undocumented migrants, refugees, temporary migrants especially women migrants, and seafarers.
 

On November 29, the Tribunal judges will announce its verdict on the charges filed. ###

 

Atty. Edre Olalia, International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL)
Chief Prosecutor
           
     
Atty. Neri Colmenares, National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) Atty. Jill Santos of NUPL, Clerk of Court
     
           

           
     
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Liza Largoza-Maza, International Women's Alliance (IWA) Aaron Ceradoy, Migrante, Program Manager
           

 

 

 

Download verdict in PDF files

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

Profiles of the judges for the Migrants Tribunal on the GFMD

 

 

 

1. Bishop Soritua Nababan

 

Rev. Dr Soritua Nababan of the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP) served as ephorus (bishop) in his church, which is the largest Protestant church in Indonesia, from 1987 to 1998. His international ecumenical involvement has included service as a member, and then vice-moderator, of the WCC Central Committee, from 1983 to 1998; as president of the Christian Conference of Asia from 1990 to 1995 (and youth secretary from 1963 to 1967); as vice-president of the Lutheran World Federation from 1984 to 1991 (and earlier, from 1970 to 1977); and as vice-chairman and then moderator of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism from 1968-1985. He was general chairman of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia from 1984 to 1987 (and its general secretary from 1967 to 1984). He is currently the chairperson for Asia of the World Council of Churches.

 

2. Monique Wilson

 

By the time she was 17 and entering university, she had appeared in over sixty professional productions. She enrolled as a Theatre Major at the University of the Philippines, but fate soon intervened in 1988 when Cameron Mackintosh came to Manila to audition for the musical Miss Saigon. She played the role of Kim in the said production for three years in the West End, and after, has done movies and stage productions, recorded albums and appeared in many television shows. While a world-renowned artists, Monique is also an activist and feminist. She is a member of Gabriela Womens Party, a partylist aiming to represent many marginalized Filipino women in Philippine Congress. Currently, she is spearheading in the Philippines One Billion Rising, a campaign to have one billion people sign up against violence against women by February 14, 2013.

 

3. Dr. Roland Tolentino

                                                                     

He is a teacher, writer and activist.Dr. Roland Tolentino is currently the dean of the College of Mass Communications of the University of the Philippines Diliman Campus. Having studied abroad, he experienced life as a migrant and has worked with fellow migrants, workers and their families, on several occasions. He is a member of CONTEND UP, or Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, University of the Philippines.

 

4. Ana Lorena Delgadillo

 

Ms. Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez, holds a law degree from the Escuela Libre de Derecho, and her thesis was titled "The Mexican State's International Responsibility for Human Rights Violations." She has worked in organizations such as human rights NGOs as Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), and for the Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence Against Women in Ciudad Juarez. She is currently in charge of office and Attorney for Victims of Crime and Community Services of the Attorney General of the Federal District of Mexico. She also participated in the Peoples Caravan in July 2011 to the Inter American Human Rights Commission to file a request on behalf of "The Foundation for Justice and Democratic State of Law" and human rights organizations in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, calling for the implementation of precautionary measures at this body, to meet the families of the 72 migrants killed in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. (72 migrants were found in April 2011 in mass hidden graves in this town, where migrants from Central America transit through to Mexico.)

 

5. Osamu Niikura

 

Osamu is currently the secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the vice-president of JALISA, or the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association.

 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children (VAWC)
Posted by admin on 11/23/12 • Categorized as News Releases

As the world prepares to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children on November 25, Pinay OFWs all over the world highlight how forced migration has become the worst cause and manifestaton of all forms of abuse, oppression and exploitaton of Filipino women and children.

The “feminization” of labor migration was most marked in the decade and a half since 1990, driven by the rise in number of domestic workers and caregivers going abroad due to the intensification of the labor export policy by past and present Philippine governments. By 1995, according to the National Statistics Office’s Survey of Overseas Filipinos (NSO SOF), there were 91 female OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) for every 100 male OFWs. This figure steadily increased to a peak of 102 female OFWs per 100 male in 2006. To date, Filipina OFWs still make up more than half (around 60%) of the stock estimate of OFWs, outnumbering male OFWs especially in the service sector, with 135, 168 female new hires to 19,367 to male new hires in 2010.

Far beyond the absolute numbers, however, are the very specific vulnerabilities that Filipina OFWs migrant workers face because they are women – sexual discrimination and other gender-specific abuses, exploitation and violence – and also in the sorts of work where they tend to predominate. This is especially the case when Filipina OFWs migrate for work that is in line with their traditionally-defined reproductive roles in society (i.e., domestic workers, nurses, caregivers, etc).

The current onslaught of the global economic and financial crisis further intensifies abuses and violations faced by Filipina OFWs. The global crisis makes them more vulnerable to illegal recruitment, human/sex trafficking, criminalization (of the irregular/undocumented), and tolerate abuses at work. The worsening crisis conceives for them more desperate conditions, locally and abroad.

The US-backed wars of aggression in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region and more recently in Gaza are forcing millions of migrants, especially women, to choose between a rock and a hard place – to either flee the conflicts or face unemployment and poverty in the Philippines, or to stay at risk of their well-being and lives in exchange for income. In these conditions, Filipina OFWs become victims not only of violence and war but also of labor and human rights abuses.

For this year’s commemoration,we call for justice for all OFW victims of rape, sexual harassment, trafficking and other forms of VAW. We also join all freedom-loving women and peoples’ in calling for a stop to US-backed wars of aggression and attacks. We stand in solidarity with other women migrants in the women’s struggle for freedom, democracy and national sovereignty and against imperialist plunder and military intervention.

On November 25, we call for justice for all Filipina OFWs victimized not only by perpetrators but also by government neglect and the circumstances that forced them to vulnerability and injustice.

International Migrants’ Tribunal

Violence against women migrant workers and children will be one of the highlights in the witness testimonies for the upcoming International Migrants’ Tribunal.

The International Migrants’ Tribunal will be held on November 28-29 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. It is organized by the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA).

The Tribunal will put on trial the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) as it is being facilitated by sending and receiving countries, including the Philippines. It is expected to be attended by judges and witnesses from different parts of the world.

One of the judges will be renowned theatre actress and women’s rights advocate Monique Wilson. The head judge will be Niikura Osamu, president of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA), a member organization of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

Migrante International and other migrants’ groups and advocate organizations will be witnesses to talk about the intensification of labor export in migrant-sending and receiving countries and its adverse effects on migrant workers. ###
 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     
           
           
           
           

 


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