Arouse, Organize and Mobilize Women Migrants, Immigrants and Refugees To Resist Attacks to our rights, and Against Oppression and Exploitation of Women
Statement of the International Migrants Alliance in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2017
The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) joins and salutes all the struggling women of the world in marking this year’s International Women’s Day with marches, protests, strikes and all forms of actions to resist worsening attacks on rights, oppression and exploitation of women.
One hundred and eight years ago, working class women stood up to fight for shorter working hours. Since then, women all around the world have risen up, organized themselves and integrated women’s struggles with the peoples movements for rights, justice, peace and liberation.
Migrants, immigrants, refugees and displaced women are part of these struggles.
The intensifying crisis of imperialism has resulted in the forced displacement of hundreds of millions of women. They are forced to flee from poverty, unemployment, land grabbing, climate change induced disasters, conflicts and wars.
They flee to survive but are made even more vulnerable to exploitation, degradation and oppression as foreign workers, as refugees, as trafficking victims, as marriage migrants, and as undocumented migrants.
Amidst the worsening and chronic crisis due to over production, control and monopoly of the world’s resources by the few and developed countries led by US imperialist, the situation is ripe to further raise the level of consciousness of women, organize and mobilize them to advance the interest of the poor, the deprived and oppressed people of the world.
Imperialists continue to push neoliberal globalization policies that heighten the condition for forced migration and reduces migrants, immigrants and refugees to cheap labor and modern-day slavery.
Lopsided trade agreements are aggressively advanced including trade in people as shown by efforts to revive the talks for the Trade in Services Agreement or TiSA of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that exacerbate the exploitative condition of migrants to satisfy the needs of transnational companies for cheap and docile labor.
Hand in hand with neoliberalism is the war strategy employed mainly by US imperialism to corner territories and resources, defeat anti-US regimes, pump up military-financial businesses, and attack liberation movements.
The wars against Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries of the Middle East have killed thousands of women and children. Countless refugees flee from these war-torn countries attacked by forces allied with US imperialism like the ISIS and its puppet regimes. Thousands of them die at sea and in borders as restrictions worsen.
In the United States, the recent executive order of Donald Trump barring Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen reeks of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia that legitimize attacks and hate crimes against migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and people of color.
Blaming and scapegoating migrants, immigrants and refugees for the economic and social crisis that neoliberalism creates is not new. We are the living proof of a crisis and yet, we are used as convenient cover-up for the grave impacts of neoliberalism. Ironically, the same neoliberal framework is being applied to deodorize migration to ensure the continued flow of migrant labor to serve in monopoly industries, agriculture and services.
With the failure of countries to address the root causes of abject poverty, wars and worsening inequality that force people of many poor economies to leave their families behind, forced migration and displacement of people will remain and will intensify.
In the face of deteriorating economic, social and political conditions, women migrants, immigrants and refugees have no recourse but to fight back against commodification, modern-day slavery, and all forms of reactions that perpetuate oppression and exploitation of women from the basic classes and sectors.
As migrants, immigrants and refugees, we must further expand and strengthen our ranks to resist attacks in all fronts and advance alternative systems that will eradicate forced displacement and the treatment of migrants as commodities. We must utilize available means and maximize all opportunities to highlight our condition and calls including in the United Nations where the process to create global compacts for refugees and on migration have started.
Today, we in the IMA stand with all our sisters around the world resisting imperialism, fascism, racism, xenophobia, slavery and other forms of abuse and exploitation that undermine the lives, human rights and dignity of women and other oppressed peoples of the world. We vow to pursue the IMA’s thrust of organizing, educating and mobilizing migrants, immigrants and refugees in their millions to speak up and act – together with the oppressed people – for a better world and future.
Long live the International Women’s Day!
Long live the women in struggle!
Dare to struggle, dare to win!
Eni Lestari, IMA Chairperson