Cordi, Asian migrants in HK hit global confab

BAGUIO CITY — Cordilleran migrant workers organizations based in Hong Kong (HK) in solidarity with other migrant workers organizations of Asia strongly criticized the objectives of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Manila last week.

In an interview, Migrante Metro Baguio spokesperson Flora Belinan said that there are some eight thousand migrant workers from the Cordillera in HK. There are several specific Cordillera provincial and town organizations who are in solidarity with other asian migrant organizations.

These organizations through the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) have come together to collectively criticize the GFMD that has just concluded its second forum in Manila.

Before the HK Asian Migrants Assembly, Dolores Balladares, spokesperson of the AMCB said, “Asian migrants in Hong Kong say no to GFMD and the sellout of migrants. The GFMD is an anti-worker meeting of migrants’ rights violators.”

The HK Asian Migrants Assembly was participated in by more than a thousand protesters from organizations of Indonesians, Filipinos, Thais, Sri Lankans and Nepalese migrants joined by hundreds of Filipino members of the Bangon Pilipinas Movement – HK.

The action was held at Harcourt Garden near the office of the Philippine Consulate General in HK.

“This protest is our contribution to the parallel forum on the GFMD, the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR),” said Balladares. She added that the action was also a run up to the global Zero Remittance Day last October 29, the first day of the GFMD meeting.

The IAMR was also held in Manila, simultaneous to the Philippine government hosted GMFD meeting.

Balladares expounded that they see the GFMD as dangerous to migrants for as a forum, it is merely concerned with how migration can be a profitable industry for labor-sending governments, labor-receiving governments, banks, recruitment agencies and a host of other businesses related to migration and migration processes.

“Neoliberal globalization has already destroyed our lives and GFMD is but globalization schemes applied to migration. This will surely affect in a negative way our wages, job security, services and rights, especially now in the face of an unprecedented worldwide economic crisis,” Balladares said.

According to her, the GFMD is more interested in how to use the more than US$200 billion remittances than the rights of migrants. For the group, any talks of rights in GFMD will be empty for attending states are known human rights violators of migrants and refugees.

After the program, the protesters marched to the Hong Kong Central Government Office to urge the HK government to not follow the GFMD design and instead address the issues of migrants in HK such as a legislated minimum wage, job security and discrimination.

Belinan also said the Migrante Metro-Baguio, the organization of migrant workers and their families, agree and are one with what Balladares said – “our stand against the GFMD is a stand for our rights and our future. We will continue to resist infringements to our rights and well being that the GFMD shall surely come up with.” # Kathleen T. Okubo (NorDis)

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