“GFMD must hear migrants from the ground”
Migrants alliance prepares to challenge migration and dev’t frame of global confab in Manila
“Grassroots migrants are critical of the GFMD and its approach to development and migration process. In the coming Manila GFMD, the position of migrants from the ground must be heard.”
This was declared by Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) in Hong Kong and co-convenor of the International Migrants Alliance or IMA with regards to the coming second Global Forum on Migration and Development that will be held in Manila in October this year.
The IMA is set to be established in Hong Kong on June 15 and 16 this year.
“As far as the GFMD is going right now, we believe that it is working on a framework of development that will not resolve the forced migration of hundreds of millions of people. Instead, we fear that it shall even perpetuate forced migration and the commodification of migrants,” she added.
IMA co-convenor Connie Bragas-Regalado of the Migrante International in the Philippines, meanwhile, stressed that they are very much concerned with the GFMD’s perspective of the migration process.
“While it vows to avoid putting migration as an alternative to development, the fact that it primarily deals with management of the migration process as well as how remittances can be efficiently collected and maximized belie its real intention,” she remarked.
Regalado said that GFMD’s non-inclusion of the causes of forced migration in its agenda such as the implementation of globalization policies in the national level as well as the intensifying US-led global war on terror make it “highly-doubtful” for grassroots migrants to rely on it to resolve the concerns of migrants and end forced migration.
“It was the same in the first GFMD. Now that is going to be conducted in the Philippines, we are more afraid that our basic issues will be sidelined as the apparent objective of participating sending and receving states is on how gains from migration can be maximized,” she said.
Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1st Coalition in the United States and also a co-convenor of the IMA said that the coming IMA founding assembly next week shall have the GFMD as one of the main topics for discussion.
“We aim to muster the strength of the grassroots migrants in different countries to pressure states into instituting more concrete efforts to address our condition. We don’t want another declaration devoid of real action,” she said.
Gutierrez revealed that the IMA actions shall both be in the international and national levels. She said that plans will be drafted also to “challenge the second GFMD right at its doorstep in Manila.”
In relation to this, Gutierrez urged the organizers of the civil society day that shall precede the GFMD to ensure support for the migrants in the grassroots.
“Civil society day has been managed and directed mainly by non-government organizations or NGOs. While we respect the efforts of NGOs to support causes of migrants, still the best representatives for migrants are the migrants themselves,” she added.
Lestari declared that the GFMD is just one of the international events that the IMA will face.
“The international arena must open its doors to the grassroots. Our organized ranks in the national and international levels shall make sure that it does,” Lestari concluded.