IMA Statement on 2016 Migrants Day

Strengthen the grassroots movement of migrants:
Fight back against neoliberal globalization, forced displacement and violations of our rights!

18 December 2016

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) gives our salute to all migrants and displaced people who continue to work on the ground to defend the rights and promote the wellbeing of the sector.

We give our highest regard to grassroots migrants who – despite odds and obstacles – continue to build their organized strength, empower their communities, expose their real conditions, and confront policies and powers that exploit, oppress and marginalize foreign workers.

As the global capitalist crisis intensifies, the need to further expand and strengthen the grassroots movement of migrants becomes even more urgent as only through militant struggle on the ground can ensure that migrants are treated with dignity and rights, and forced migration and exploitation of migrant labor are addressed.

Capitalist crisis spells disaster for migrants.

In the labor importing countries, it translates to even more flexible schemes for foreign labor as wage and benefits are eroded, while the rights of workers to unionize and assemble are restricted. Crisis means worse exclusion, discrimination and marginalization as foreign workers and foreign-born citizens are blamed for constricting job opportunities and diminishing social services.

In labor exporting countries, the global capitalist crisis means intensifying the already deeply rooted problems of poverty, unemployment and other economic, political and social problems. Labor export policies are expanded and become more institutionalized as source countries of migrants use their people as export goods under a race to the bottom standards, as well as an unending source of profits both for governments and businesses.

These are happening despite the 26th year existence of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Migrants and Their Families.

Capitalist crisis means intensified implementation of neoliberal globalization policies including trade deals such as the TPP and the RCEP, as well as wars for profits and resources. Both lead to displacement of millions and flexibilization of labor including migrant labor.

Neoliberal design also includes deodorizing current migration and displacement by denying the root causes of why people flee from their homelands. While optimism is promoted internationally, for example through the Agenda 2030, the agenda of protection of profit and preserving the exploitative capitalist system is obscured.

Grassroots migrants have already made great strides in exposing the real cause of discplacement and the neoliberal agenda on migration. Even at the level of the United Nations, the IMA has pointed to the real issues that migrants confront and called for genuine compacts among States that will resolve forced migration and promote real development.

In 2018, the UN is set to uphold a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. While such will answer some concerns of migrants, it will not resolve the larger economic, political and social issues of migration. It may even be used to further restrict borders and legitimise the criminalization undocumented migrants.

We must use every opportunities available and create opportunities where there are none to continue to push for genuine protection of migrants that not only addresses the symptoms but goes to the roots of our vulnerability.

In this International Migrants Day, the IMA reaffirms our commitment to building and strengthening the grassroots migrants’ movement. Only through unity and action on the ground by migrants, immigrants, refugees, displaced peoples and advocates can we really look up to a world that will not force anyone to leave their homes just to survive.

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