Taiwan’s Labor Law Amendments Are Anti-Worker

Statement of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) on the recent amendment of the Labor Standards Act in Taiwan

24 January 2018

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) expresses full support to the workers and people of Taiwan who are protesting against and calling for the immediate repeal of the recently approved amendments of the Labor Standards Act.

Under the new amendments, (a) workers can be asked to work 12 days in a row, with a mandatory two days off over two weeks; (b) workers’ break hours will be reduced from 11 to 8 hours between work shifts; (c) their overtime hours will be increased from 46 to 54 per month, yet workers will not be paid more for overtime work; (d) their annual paid holidays can be delayed by one year; and (e) they can be compensated for a “flexible” rest day, in which workers can opt to work during their day off if their employers ask them to (but will pay them based on actual amount of time worked).

Some of these amendments reflect what have reportedly been existing practices of some companies and factories in Taiwan. Tragically, the Legislative Yuan, by approving the amendments, will only legalize what are considered exploitative and anti-worker practices.

These labor amendments open the floodgates for more exploitation of workers, both migrants and locals. For example, employers can legally eliminate overtime payment while not reducing working hours. All workers, especially migrant workers, are at a losing end with a labor law that works against their interest.

Neoliberal globalization is at play here with capitalist profits being placed ahead of workers and people’s rights. What little protection migrant and local workers have in Taiwan is swiftly and mercilessly reduced with every passage of a law that is supposed to serve everyone, not only the privileged few.

The revised labor law definitely works at the detriment of workers’ rights. The capitalists’ development only means the enslavement of workers.

We support and join the call of workers and peoples in Taiwan to immediately and unconditionally repeal the Labor Standards Act’s amendments.

Reference:
Eni Lestari, chairperson
ima.sect@gmail.com

 

Migrants and Peoples Unite Against Trump’s Racism and Xenophobia

IMA Statement on Trump’s “shithole” remarks on El Salvador, Haiti and several African countries

15 January 2018

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” – Donald Trump, January 11, 2018

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) condemns in the strongest terms the racist and xenophobic statements made by US President Donald Trump last January 11, 2018, during a meeting with US lawmakers, as the US government discusses a new immigration policy. Trump particularly mentioned nationals of Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries as “persons from shithole countries”.

“Such brazen disrespect for peoples will only fan the flames of hate directed against migrants, especially those in the United States,” says IMA Chairperson Eni Lestari. “At present, many migrants are already under attack, but the Trump declaration will embolden racist attacks against migrants and people of color.”

According to Lestari, this Trump tirade underscores the racist policy of his administration, while at the same time, glosses over the fact that many of the countries Trump mentioned became and remains poor because of foreign plunder. “Africa is rich in natural resources but pillaging of their natural resource by colonial, neo-colonial and imperialist powers have robbed the people of their wealth.”

“Under neoliberalism, migrants are part of the marauding of wealth. Migrants provide cheap and docile labour crucial in increasing capital accumulation in the hands of the few,” opined Lestari.

Trump’s racism has garnered international condemnations including strongly worded statements from the African Union and several governments like El Salvador. The IMA calls on all migrants and people to combat Trump’s racist statements and actions.

“Migrants and the freedom-loving people of the world need to unite and persist against racism, xenophobia and imperial plunder. As long as there are racists like Trump, we should continue with our struggle,” concluded Lestari.

Reference:
Eni Lestari, chairperson

US – Trump Rejects UN Global Compact on Migrants and Refugees, Grassroots Migrants Will Determine Their Own Future International Migrants Day 2017

Two weeks before International Migrants Day, December 18th, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it will no longer participate in the UN Global Compact on Migrants (GCM) and refugees (GCR) declaring that the UN’s “approach is simply not compatible with US sovereignty” and that “decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone.” Hypocritically, the US has never respected the sovereignty and self-determination of other nations, including displaced indigenous peoples within its own borders, causing many of the economic, political, and environmental disasters driving the global crisis of forced migration.

The Global Compact on Migration is the UN’s latest response to the current migration and refugee crisis. The GCM acknowledges the “mass movement of peoples” worldwide, around 300 million displaced peoples, the highest since the last World War. While the global compact falls short of addressing the root causes of the forced migration of millions of refugees due to war, political violence, militarization, state repression, and economic crises, the United States’ most recent position on the matter demonstrates its complete disregard for accountability or compliance with international processes. At the same time, it is the driving force behind many of the crises in the world today.

The Trump administration has expanded and intensified fascist and racist repression against peoples and movements across the U.S., along its own borders, and extended these attacks to home countries as well. While recklessly war-mongering against China, North Korea, and the Middle East, Trump continues the U.S.’s neoliberal policies of privatization, deregulation, and liberalization. He and other competing imperialist countries are impoverishing, forcibly displacing, and devastating peoples and their homelands.

With slow growth and declining world trade, US imperialist policies under Trump are squeezing workers for lower wages, through flexible work and contractualization, relying more and more on informal, irregular workers. These economic attacks on working people and the exploitation of migrants require the political repression of workers, communities of color, and migrants who are left to fend for themselves, and we have seen Trump openly attack any resistance or advocacy for migrants’ rights. In his withdrawal from the UN GCM process, we note his particular arrogance, insisting on all the rights of an imperialist America first, while avoiding any and all accountability to international norms or laws on the rights of migrants and refugees.

Domestically, in less than a year in office, Trump intensified the exploitation of migrant guest workers by expanding the H2B guest worker visa programs for the benefit of US corporations. He has opened the door for his administration to become the “trafficker in chief,” since recruiters, placement agencies, and employers exploit the desperation of economically forced migrants. At the same time he has excluded other migrant and refugee populations, whom he has alternately labeled as terrorists, animals, drug smugglers, and rapists. His policies represent some of the most inhumane anti-migrant policies recently, none of which resolve the U.S’s underlying and worsening economic crisis since 2008. The number of deportations has ballooned under the Trump administration, and he has shifted from the “deporter-in-chief” Obama’s strategy to now indiscriminately target and collaterally sweep all undocumented immigrants into his deportation net (not just those with violent records as priority).

Even more openly, Trump’s xenophobia and repressive policies signal the desperate reaction of the 1% to cling to power. Trump has also promised or attempted to:

-Build a wall on the Mexican border and multiply the number of deportations, militarizing the border, terrorizing families and communities, and enhancing the powers of the security state.-Implement 3 versions of a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and temporary suspension of the entry of refugees, discriminatorily shutting the country’s doors to the world, and

-Repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and eliminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua ending in January 2018 and Haiti in July 22, 2019 with decisions pending on El Salvador and Honduras, instantly adding tens of thousands of forced migrants and refugees in the U.S. to the community of millions undocumented.

With the rise of right wing, racist and fascist governments and movements in the US and Western Europe, people everywhere including migrants and refugees are building resistance and struggle against these reactionary forces. IMA-USA calls on all of its members and grassroots migrants groups to join us, as we build a more powerful migrant and refugee movement across the United States and join oppressed people throughout the world to stand up against this declining US imperialist system and to build a better world for all.

The ultimate solution for the welfare and wellbeing of the hundreds of millions of forced migrants and refugees will not come from UN heads of state or policy makers and big NGO’s, but from the migrants and refugees themselves. Contrary to the GCM framework that promotes “safe, orderly, and regular” migration for the interests of businesses and corporations, this International Migrants Day, migrants and refugees around the world will continue to rise up to demand justice, to fight for their homelands, and to stand against the rising fascism, xenophobia, and repression they face both at home and abroad. IMA-USA will mobilize on International Migrants Day and invites all who struggle for justice for migrants and refugees to join IMA on December 18th, 2017 and internationally in September 2018 at the 8th International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees – IAMR8 in NYC to determine the people’s demands in the UN’s Global Compacts on Migrants and Refugees. Migrants are organizing, and the mass movement is strengthening itself around the world. Join us in our calls:

End forced migration!

End the Criminalization of Im/migrants!

Genuine Immigration Reform Now! Legalization for All!

No to US and other imperialist wars!

###

Reference: Antonio Arizaga, International Migrants Alliance (IMA), Vice ChairpersonTerrence Valen, IMA International Coordinating Body U.S. Representative Contact Info: (415) 333-6267, ima.usa2011@gmail.com

[Statement] IMA on US withdrawal from GCM

US withdrawal from migration pact shows callous disregard of need to protect rights of migrants: Trump wants perpetration of exploitation and forced displacement

Reference: Ms. Eni Lestari, IMA Chairperson
4 December 2017

The recent US government’s pronouncement of withdrawing from the process of creating the United Nations Global Compact on Migration is a callous disregard of the need for the international community to address pressing concerns of the millions of displaced peoples. It reeks of arrogance just so it can ensure the unchecked implementation of anti-immigrant policies within the US while maintaining the current global migration design of forced migration and exploitation of migrants.

In a statement signed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the US government stated that the provisions of the GCM are “inconsistent with the US Immigration and refugee policies and the Trump administration’s immigration principles.”

Clearly, what the US government meant was that challenges thrown to the GCM process by migrants and advocates to make the said compact address human rights, labor issues, gender concerns, and the root causes of migration – even while States drumbeat resources gained from migration – are not consistent with Trump’s immigration policy directions.

The Trump immigration policies include massive cuts in the number of immigrants allowed in the US, widespread crackdown – arrest, detention and deportation of undocumented migrants – and further exploitation of immigrants allowed to stay in the country. As President, Donald Trump has pushed for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border and implemented a travel ban on six Muslim majority countries.

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) believes that such withdrawal is a total disregard of the importance and principles of international cooperation and solidarity, and an arbitrary reneging from commitments reflected in the New York Declaration that resulted from the UN Summit on Migrants and Refugees held in September last year.

Even before the non-binding global compact is negotiated and its implementation providing no assurance for drastic and concrete changes, the Trump administration is already afraid to be put accountable to the intensifying displacement of people due to neoliberal policies and the multiple wars that are both championed by the US. The twin measures that the US upholds perpetuate massive poverty and unemployment, environmental degradation, constriction of social services, and a host of other grave impacts that force people to leave their countries of origin only to be trapped in further vulnerable and exploitative conditions in countries of destination.

IMA believes that such decision made by the Trump administration to withdraw from the GCM process can create a bandwagon effect especially on the commitments that major receiving countries of migrants and refugees will pledge. The GCM that is already in a tenuous position to resolve issues of migrants will end up as another shallow pact of UN Member States.

The International Migrants Alliance, the global alliance of migrants, immigrants and refugee organizations is calling its members in more than 30 countries including its allies to remain vigilant in this on-going process of crafting a global compact on migration and refugees.

IMA will continue to expose and oppose the root causes of forced migration and the exploitation of migrants. IMA will pursue the building of the global movement of migrants to resist neoliberal dictates and agenda on migration. It will continue to advance changes in all levels – national to international – that will uphold the rights and wellbeing of migrants and bring about a more democratic and pro-people system where migration is a free exercise of right and not an instrument and result of an exploitative and oppressive capitalist system.

Uphold and Protect the Peoples Collective Rights and Dignity of the Rohingya

IMA Statement on the Rohingya Exodus
18 September 2017

The Rohingya deserve the full recognition, respect and protection of their rights, dignity and life as people by all nations and governments, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar.

This is the statement of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) as we extend our strongest solidarity to the Rohingya who are now suffering the worst tragedy at the hands of the Myanmar military government.

Right now, more than 400,000 people, many of whom are women, children and elderly, have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape what can be called a state-instigated ethnic cleansing campaign. Rohingya people are Muslim while Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist.

Since August 25, the Myanmar military has cracked down on the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, using violent measures such as the scorched-earth campaign (burning down entire villages), rape, indiscriminate firing and strafing, and ultimately, massacre. This was supposedly a state response to alleged attacks by a group called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 30 police posts in the area.

While condemnation from the international community has poured in, the Myanmar government apparently sees no reason to stop terrorizing the Rohingya people. There were also reports of Burmese military allegedly planning to bomb passage areas the Rohingya were using to escape the attacks.

The Rohingya remain a stateless people, virtual victims to what seems to be an onerous tennis match of accountabilities between the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments. Myanmar refuses citizenship to Rohingya reasoning that the latter actually come from East Bengal, and therefor should be responsibility of Bangladesh. Bangladesh, on the other hand, denies political and civil rights to Rohingya stating they are Burmese.

The IMA joins the international community in calling for a humanitarian campaign to provide immediate support, housing and all possible services to the Rohingya, both those who are already in Bangladesh and many more who are still in Myanmar.

Moreover, we urge both the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments to uphold human rights above all and ultimately stop the attacks on the Rohingya people.

We demand both governments:

1) To provide the respect, recognition and protection that the Rohingya rightfully and ultimately deserve;
2) To recognize the Rohingya as people and be accord them their much deserved citizenship;
3) To uphold, promote and respect their collective rights, which include their rights to live as a community, ethnicity and culture, among others; and
4) To provide the Rohingya to opportunity and the environment to live in peace, with dignity and without fear of discrimination, violence or ostracism.

We likewise call on governments to uphold and respect Rohingya asylum seekers, especially those in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

We hope that the United Nations wield political will and enjoin both states to derive through peaceful means concrete actions and mechanism to achieve these demands.

The Rohingya deserve a life of just peace, solidarity and acceptance. End the horrors of fascism, racism and violence that befall them and their children.

No one deserves to be stateless. No one deserves to experience violence.

Life, dignity and justice for the Rohingya!

Reference:
Eni Lestari, IMA chairperson

Post-DACA, Our Struggle Can Only Grow Stronger

Unite and Strengthen the Immigrant Movement Against Fascism, Defend DACA!

07 September 2017

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA-USA) shares the outrage of millions at this week’s decision of the Trump-Pence Regime to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA Program for undocumented youth and students.  Once again, the fascistic character of this administration rears its ugly head to eliminate even this temporary form of relief for the 800,000+ undocumented recipients who were given only temporary authorization to work, go to school, or join the military, instead of having to live in fear of potential deportation.

In 2012 it was the grassroots mobilization of thousands of undocumented youth and students that mobilized in the streets and won the DACA policy from the Obama administration.  Instead of hiding in the shadows, they refused to be treated like criminals, and these young “Dreamers” stood up as “undocumented and unafraid” leaders of the movement to end the criminalization of migrants.   Even just 2 years (renewable until Trump ends the program’s applications in a month’s time) was a significant form of relief for these youth and students, who, for a brief moment, could live without the anxiety, fear, or threat of detention and deportation.

As the name implies, the DACA Program impacted only those students who arrived as children, often as their parents were fleeing economic dislocation or political repression in their families’ homelands.  The most progressive leaders of the Dreamers, however, refused to be pitted as “good” immigrants versus the rest of the “bad” immigrants in the U.S.  There are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and the Trump administration has promised to deport all of them regardless of the reasons or conditions that brought them here.

While DACA tried to track these youth into schools, often low-paying jobs or even the military, there was always the fear that registering for the program would surface the close to 1 million youth and their families who would avail of the program.  Supporters of the program thought that subsequent presidents would be foolish to rescind the program and remove even this temporary relief for immigrants who registered to study, work, or fight for the U.S., but Trump was that fool and exposed that in the end, he will intensify and expand the discrimination and attacks against the forced migrants and refugees in this country.

The number of forced migrants, refugees, and displaced people in the world has increased to close to 300 million – a humanitarian crisis not seen since the devastation of WWII.  At the recent Solidarity and Fightback conference and mobilization in Toronto, Canada, IMA joined hundreds of people from dozens of countries to expose how US led wars of aggression, militarization and fascism were impacting migrants and refugees and how grassroots resistance was fighting back against this massive dislocation of people. Wars of US imperialism and between the world’s superpowers, global climate change and famine in large parts of Africa, and especially economic devastation and political persecution are forcing workers, families and communities to be separated and uprooted.

The failed neoliberal economic policies of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, numerous free trade agreements,  and the intervention and proxy wars of the world’s imperialist powers created this current crisis, and the US and other host countries are hypocritically and true to their fascist character cracking down on forced migrants and refugees as scapegoats for their own internal economic and political crises.  Dreamers and DACA recipients are the latest targets of a regime in decline, with Trump cynically repealing Obama’s piecemeal immigration reform program, feeding and emboldening his base of white supremacists, xenophobes, and the racist police and prison state.

This move will not resolve the economic and political crisis in the United States that is only intensifying.  As the US and other imperialist powers continue their wars for economic, political and military dominance in the world to alleviate their own internal problems, the number of forced migrants and refugees will only increase. Dreamers, undocumented immigrants, Muslim refugees, and the many other working class targets of the Trump administration must join together to resist his attacks on all of our communities.  They can also join the migrants and refugees from around the world who are forming a people’s campaign for a truly grassroots led Global Compact on Migrants and a Global Compact on Refugees as the United Nations only now begins to recognize the economic significance and profitability of the forcibly displaced peoples around the world in maintaining the global capitalist system.

Only peoples in struggle can turn the tide of a Trump attack on DACA and the 11 million+ undocumented immigrants in the U.S.  We stand with the Dreamers, Muslim immigrants, and all working class and people of color communities in the U.S. building resistance to the Trump-Pence regime. IMA-USA will continue to fight alongside Dreamers and other migrant youth, workers, and families to build the grassroots voices of migrants and refugees in struggle against imperialism, fascism, and all forms of reaction.

Defend DACA! Resist Trump’s Fascism and Attacks on Im/migrants!

End the Criminalization and Illegalization of Im/migrants!

Genuine Immigration Reform Now! Legalization for All!

End forced migration! No to US and other imperialist wars!

 

Reference:

Antonio Arizaga, International Migrants Alliance (IMA), Vice Chairperson

Terry Valen, IMA International Coordinating Body U.S. Representative

Contact Info: 4152030696, ima.usa2011@gmail.com

IMA Pursues Engagement for Global Compact That Truly Serves the Interest of Migrants

On the first informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearing for the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, affiliates of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) shall be present to register the voice of grassroots migrants towards a global compact that is based on the human rights of migrants, oriented towards a development framework that shall end – not perpetuate – forced migration, and operationalized with the active participation of grassroots migrants to realize concrete changes in the condition of migrants and policies on migration.

Sringatin, chairperson of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union in Hong Kong (IMWU-HK) and spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB-IMA-HK) shall speak as a panelist on the contribution of migrants. Meanwhile, Wardarina of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) shall be part of the panel on the drivers of migration.

The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), associate member of the IMA, shall also be present to observe in the thematic session as well as in the hearing. APMM is a member of the GC< Stakeholder Steering Committee.

The hearing shall be held at the United Nations (UN) in New York City on July 26. It will follow the Thematic Session on the contributions of migrants and diasporas in sustainable development on July 24 and 25. These are all parts of the preparatory process that is expected to contribute to the crafting of the Global Compact on Migration.
IMA and its members and partners are also gearing to take part in regional processes related to the Global Compact. An Asia Consultation is set to be held in September this year.

In September 2016, the UN Summit on Migrants and Refugees came out with the New York Declaration wherein the agreement to work for a Global Compact on Migration – as well as the Global Compact on Refugees – was expressed.

It should be recalled that IMA Chairperson Eni Lestari spoke before leaders of UN Member States in the opening plenary of the said Summit. In her speech, Lestari urged UN Members States “to commit – to justice, to a development that does not tear families apart and to a future that relies on the strength of its people, not to the continued export and exploitation of our labour.”

Since after the UN Summit, the IMA and its members have continued to intensify the human rights campaigns and advocacies of migrants in the international, regional and even more in the national level. Such campaigns and advocacies have highlighted the need for governments of the world to implement urgent actions that will address the exploitation, modern-day slavery and commodification of migrants.

Furthermore, governments must rethink the labor export-oriented and remittance-driven neoliberal prescription and work towards a system that addresses inequalities, genuinely sustainable, inclusive of the grassroots and truly based on equality, human rights and justice.

Reference: Eni Lestari, IMA chairperson