“We are challenging the GFMD (Global Forum on Migration and Development) because we are for genuine peoples’ development. We adhere to the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which is consistent with our dream of a society ‘where people are not forced to migrate as a matter of survival; a society where there is equal opportunity for all to a life of dignity; a society where the capacity of each is developed to contribute to the building of a just and progressive society,’”
BY RIO MONDELO
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – What are the three ways to address the problems affecting undocumented migrant workers? Organize, organize and organize.
Migrants and refugees participating in a forum in Amsterdam last October 11 vowed to fight for the rights of undocumented migrant workers, which include their regularization.
The forum served as an alternative to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). It aimed to present the real situation of migrants and refugees in Europe and consequently, call for concrete action.
According to Grace Punongbayan, member of the International Coordinating Body of the International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA), the forum challenges the GFMD framework that claims migration promotes development.
Ufuk Berdan of the Federation of Turkish Migrant Workers in Europe (ATIK) and also the vice-chairperson of the IMA said that present-day migration is caused by the neoliberal globalization policies of advanced capitalist countries. He said that since 1998, 12,500 people have lost their lives trying to cross the European borders to escape wars of aggression, poverty, hunger, unemployment and misery in their countries of origin. He condemned the policies of the European Union (EU) on migration, which he said is reflective of “reactionary trends” in the continent.
Araz Barani of Caravan in Germany, a militant anti-racist and action-oriented network of refugees, exposed the rape of refugee women, the racist attacks on refugees and peoples of color, the continued policy of deportations, denial of health, social and medical benefits to refugees, the use of Nazi-type concentration camps for asylum-seekers and the blatant disregard by the German government of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Human Rights.
He said that the government representatives’ meeting in Manila later this month for the GFMD would only discuss how to “liberate cheap and qualified labor force for industry where and when they are needed, and expand and strengthen control over the developing countries.”
“They speak of migration as if it is something very natural. We talk of refugees, because most of the people either flee from wars or misery, or they seek better lives, because of poverty. To cover up the reasons why people have to leave their homes, they speak of migration. When they use the word global, they mean dominance of capital. When they speak of civil society they mean the barbaric system they brought to Africa, Latin America and Asia, they mean the bombs they bring to Iraq and Afghanistan,” Barani said.
He called for the solidarity of the oppressed and the active defense of refugees and migrants as Caravan has done for the last 10 years.