HK FDW to address UN assembly for first time on rights of migrants vs exclusion, commodification and slavery

Press Release
08 September 2016
For reference: Eni Lestari
Tel. No.: 96081475

HK FDW to address UN assembly for first time on rights of migrants vs exclusion, commodification and slavery

The world must know of the plight of migrant workers. The world must know that in Hong Kong, migrant domestic workers are still very much marginalized, excluded and unprotected.

This was stated today by Eni Lestari, a domestic worker in Hong Kong for 17 years and chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), who was chosen by the Office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations to speak as representative of migrants around the world in the first ever UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants.
Lestari, who also is the spokesperson of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), said that to speak before the world’s leaders is an important opportunity to put the issues of migrants as an international concern.
“It is high time for governments to act together to effectively address the problems migrants face foremost of which should be the economic and political condition that forcibly displaces people, uproots them from the family and community, and makes them vulnerable to abuses and exploitation by unscrupulous elements – including traffickers and illegal recruiters – and employers,” Lestari remarked.
According to its website (, the Summit “is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.”
Lestari relayed that in her message, she will emphasize the importance of upholding the comprehensive human rights of migrants as the framework of states in their policies on migration. This, she said, covers the right of migrants to stay with a decent living in their country as well as their rights as workers in their country of destination.
“My experience as a domestic worker in Hong Kong has made it clear to myself that treating migrants as second- or even third-class people or as mere commodities to trade as cheap labor opens the floodgates for all sorts of abuses to happen. There can be no essential improvement in the condition of migrants for as long as we are not seen as people, as workers, and as women with rights,” Lestari stated.
Lestari will be joined in the UN by community organizations and advocacy NGOs for migrants and refugees around the world.
“While speaking in the UN is a big step, the IMA will continue to build and strengthen our movement on the ground that will ensure any talk about our rights will be translated into action,” she concluded. #

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