Statement of the International Migrants’ Alliance on 2015 International Human Rights Day and for the International Campaign vs. TPPA

Stand up for human rights and dignity! Migrants unite against TPPA!

10 December 2015

For our sake and the sake of our people, let’s say no to TPPA!
The International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) stands with people’s organizations, anti-globalization activists, human rights advocates and the international community in opposing the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

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The TPPA contains the very key ingredient that has caused so much misery to peoples all over the world and the devastation of our world itself – neoliberal globalization. Under neoliberal globalization, policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization will be imposed on many countries participating in the TPPA and intensify those that are already in place. This means, more state-owned assets and utilities will be privatized and given to corporations to run (through public-private partnerships), national and local enterprises will be imperiled as tariffs are relaxed for incoming foreign investments and businesses, our environment will be further plundered through destructive large-scale corporate mining and removal of barriers on national patrimony, and national governments will be resigned to serving big businesses through free trade agreements and other provisions under the TPPA.

Neoliberal policies and trade liberalization wreak havoc on economies and societies in all aspects. They intensify the crisis experienced by nations and peoples – massive unemployment through closure of industries, factories and businesses, destruction of agriculture, devastation of the environment, privatization of utilities and basic goods that the governments should in the first place be responsible for. This crisis pushes people to leave their families and home countries behind to find work or greener pastures abroad – only to be further exploited and turned into modern-day slaves. This is the reality of forced labor migration.

As the TPPA broaches enforcement of labor rights protection in its provisions, one casts this with great doubt. For how can workers’ rights be protected when factories and other industries will be transferred from imperialist countries like the United States to underdeveloped countries in Asia Pacific for reasons of cheaper raw materials and labor? How would the TPPA ensure labor security when workers would lose their jobs as others will receive depressed wages and curbed rights?

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On a larger scale, the forerunners of TPPA would overlook migrants’ rights violations so that some countries could participate in the TPPA. Was it not the U.S. government that upgraded the status of Malaysia to Tier 2 from Tier 3 in the former’s Trafficking in Persons report, despite Malaysia’s record of grave human rights violations committed against migrants and refugees? Tenaganita, the leading migrants’ rights institution and member of the IMA in Malaysia, has strongly condemned this move.

With secrecy surrounding the TPPA, it is very clear that the imperialist countries railroading this agreement is geared towards only promoting capitalist interests at the expense of workers and peoples’ rights. As the global economic crisis worsens, imperialism is hell-bent in salvaging its dying economy through imposition of FTAs such as the TPPA.

TPPA is clearly anti-people, anti-worker and anti-migrant. There is nothing in it that will ensure the protection of rights, the uplifting of our already-depressed wages, the insecurity of our work, the discrimination that we experience in the workplace and in society, and the solution to forced migration. There is nothing in it that will ensure us and our family of genuine development, of a prosperous society, and a bright future.

Reference: Eni Lestari, chairperson