Justice for Mary Jane Veloso, for Filipino migrants, and the Filipino people: Statement of support to International People’s Tribunal on the Philippines

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) expresses our solidarity and support to the ongoing International People’s Tribunal on the Philippines happening now in Brussels, Belgium to investigate Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and his government; US Pres. Donald Trump and his government; imperialist instruments such as the IMF, WB and WTO, and; transnational corporations and banks operating in the Philippines, for crimes against the Filipino people.

Indeed, it is high time to take the accused into account for gross violations of civil and political rights, economic and social and cultural rights, and the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples.

We most welcome the inclusion of the concerns of Filipino migrant workers in the charges. We are very happy to know that the IPT shall take up the case of Mary Jane Veloso – with her mother, Celia Veloso, as key witness. Mary Jane is a Filipina domestic worker abandoned by Philippine government and detained in Wirogunan Penitentiary in Yogyakarta, Indonesia since 2010. As the world knows, the national and international collective actions forced the Indonesian government to give her a reprieve from execution in 2012.

In their quest for Mary Jane’s freedom her parents attempted several times to visit Pres. Duterte to make good of his promise of helping Mary Jane to escape from death row. Those missed visit and the fact that the Department of Foreign Affairs has failed to communicate with the Veloso family it is a clear indication that the Duterte government already abandoned her case.

Two years into his term and the Duterte government has not shown any real progress in the protection and promotion of rights of and service for Filipinos overseas. Instead, the regime continues to perpetuate imperialist-dictated policies that enforce forced migration, systematize labor export, and deprive Filipino migrants of a future free from modern-day slavery and commodification.

Mary Jane Veloso represents the concrete realities of more than 12 million Filipino migrants whose urgent need to survive from abject poverty, landlessness and unemployment – caused by the faithful adherence of Duterte to the imperialist US-led policies of neoliberal globalization – have made them vulnerable to all forms of abuses, exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery in many destination countries. Instead of addressing the root causes of the forced migration of Filipino people, the Duterte government has proven to be no different from his predecessors who were all high on promises of service, protection and assuring the return of Filipinos to a more decent life in the Philippines, but were more concerned with increasing remittances, cornering overseas job markets, and profiting from the migration process.

Through the IPT on the Philippines, the IMA hopes that the call for justice for Mary Jane Veloso, for Filipino migrants and people will intensify.

The IMA looks forward to a positive verdict, and vows to work in solidarity with the Filipino migrants and people for their quest for justice.

Reference: Eni Lestari, IMA Chairperson

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