IMA Statement for International Labor Day (May 1, 2015)

For Mary Jane, For All Migrant Workers

Continue the struggle for rights, life, dignity and against capitalist exploitation and abuse

IMA Statement for May 1, 2015


On with the struggle, on with victory for migrants and the people.

The International Migrants Alliance congratulates on this International Labor Day all workers and their many friends, supporters and advocates for building and winning a strong international campaign for fellow migrant worker, Mary Jane Veloso. Truly, the campaign for Mary Jane is a strong expression of international solidarity.

Mary Jane was a victim of human and drug trafficking. After languishing in jail for five long years waiting for her execution by firing squad, she had no one else to turn to. But Migrante International, a global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations and member of the IMA, took her case and, together with the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-HK), Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU-HK) as well as migrant-serving institutions and Indonesia-based people’s organizations, took the lead in the campaign to save her life.

In the very short period given for the campaign, Migrante International was able to gather massive support from various people’s organizations, human rights advocates and other peoples from the Philippines, Indonesia and even other parts of the world. Engagements on the street, at the courts, even at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) were made. There was no opportunity that was not grabbed to raise awareness, gather support and solidarity, and engage the Indonesian government to spare Mary Jane’s life.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers from the Philippines tied up with their counterpart lawyers in Indonesia to provide legal assistance to Mary Jane and even helped in bringing Mary Jane’s family to Indonesia to visit Mary Jane.

The April 28 decision of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to not place Mary Jane for execution was a temporary victory, but a victory nonetheless. This is a victory for the international migrant movement that has long campaigned to not only ensure the protection of the rights and dignity of migrants but to demand and work for solutions to the problem of forced labor migration.

Mary Jane’s struggle is far from over as her reprieve is only temporary. Thus, it is important that we continue campaigning on the Indonesian government to look into her case and ensure for all truth to come out. Mary Jane is innocent and should be brought back home to reunite with her family in the Philippines.

Today, May 1, we march in victory as we march with vigilance.

The case of Mary Jane is real and pulpable. Many migrant workers fall victim to human and drug trafficking. The many governments that facilitate and systematize labor migration become party to such crimes for not only criminally neglecting the plight of many distressed migrants but allowing forced labor migration to continue.

Let us continue uniting with our local brothers and sisters, with fellow migrants from various nationalities in fighting this and all forms of exploitation and abuse.

The victory we strike in the campaign for Erwiana Sulistyaningsih early this year and now for Mary Jane Veloso are the concrete conditions of the migrant movement to the many struggles and campaigns of oppressed workers and peoples around the world on this International Labor Day. May they inspire us to further strengthen our movement, forge solidarity and win more victories for all migrants, all workers, all oppressed women and peoples.

Long live international solidarity! Onward with the struggle!


Reference: Eni Lestari, chairperson

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