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MIGRANTS' PROTESTS AT WTO MEETING

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Migrants in HK Give Hall of Shame Awards

US wins Migrants Terror Award

Hongkong, December 15,  2005

 

 

Women from different faiths jjoined thousands of protesters from around the world in shouting "Junk WTO!" as they marched from Victoria Park to the Hongkong Waterfront in Wan Chai overlooking the Hongkong Convention where the ministerial meeting was taking place.

 

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Photos by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)

& Migrante International

   
       
 

 

 

Press statement

15 December 2005
 

Migrants sending, host countries deserve Hall of Shame award


As faithful adherents to the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), governments who send and host foreign workers have a lot to answer for the sad plight of migrants and our families. For their crimes, negligence and disservice to their people, they deserve nothing less than to be given the Hall of Shame award.

For migrant workers, we are caught between the deteriorating socio-economic and political conditions of our home countries and the equally worsening situation of workers in labour importing ones.

The policies of globalization pushed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) have aggravated the already deplorable condition of peasants and workers in underdeveloped and developing countries that, in turn, push millions of people to seek employment overseas.

Abroad, however, we face wage depression, insecurity of employment, iscrimination, lack of access to services, and repression of our democratic rights as workers.

Under this condition, it is but apt for migrant workers to bestow awards to the governments of labor importing and exporting countries who have nothing to show to us and to our families but the promise of worse things to come as they continue to push for the WTO prescriptions of liberalization, deregulation and privatization.

* The King of Tyrants Award is bestowed to King Gyendra of Nepal. His clamp down on the democratic rights of the Nepali just shows the fact that tyrants always resort to iron rule when the restlessness of the people for a new and better society heats up.

* For the government of Indonesia, we give them the Rookie Labor Exporter of the Year Award to signify its intensifying commodification of Indonesian workers. Yudhoyono may be rookie to the labor importing game, but he definitely gives his best to get as much as he can from his sellout of his citizens to slave work abroad.

* Thailand's principle of service is the absence of service. As proven by Thai migrants in Hong Kong, Taiwan and in other countries, the rights and wellbeing of their nationals overseas is clearly not even in the agenda of Thaksin Shinawatra administration. For this, they receive the Absentee Award?

* While Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo harped on the so-called strengthening of the Philippine peso for the past few weeks, she conveniently forgot to mention that the ever-increasing remittance and income from government charges to overseas Filipinos have always the top dollar-earner of the country. For continuing the massive exaction from Filipinos abroad, GMA deserves the Milkmaid Award for milking migrants dry with dubious and unjust fees.

* The Sultan of Crackdown Award goes to the Malaysian government where hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants and their families have been viciously shipped out of his country despite the fact the they were workers who contributed a lot to the national economy.

* Cuts rule the HK government policies for the past few years. Wage cuts, budget cuts, cuts to social services these are just some of the most drastic policies of the past administration continued by the current Chief Executive Donald Tsang. For this, we give HK the Edward Scissorhands Award.

* The United States government does not only kill people in other countries with their economic and political dictates. Its self-declared War on Terror a tactic to arm twist countries who do not follow its Globalization lead has killed lives and livelihood of migrant workers in countries where it waged its wars of aggression. Even in its own soil, rights of foreign workers are subjected to its Patriot Act and Absconders Act. Thus, we give the US, the Migrants Terror Award

If these countries have something in common, it is their shameful treatment of migrant workers. As they continue to worship WTO and globalization, they shall remain in the Hall of Shame. We, the migrant workers and our families, shall continue to hound them and the WTO until we achieve the award of a decent and humane society that we rightfully deserve.#

 

For reference:

Eni Lestari AMCB                  Dolores Ballladares                      Connie Bragas-Regalado
Spokesperson                        AMCB  Spokesperson                 MIGRANTE Chairperson
Tel. No.: 96081475               Tel. No.: 97472986                      Tel. No.: 92745010

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News Release
December 16, 2005


ASIAN MIGRANT WORKERS BOMBARD CONSULATES WITH PROTEST
MOCK AWARDS PRESENTED TO INUTILE GOV'T OFFICIALS

 

(Hong Kong) -- They came from different countries but they all suffer the same discrimination, unfair labor practices, abuse and government neglect. Exhausted with their austere condition, migrant workers bombarded their inutile governments with protest, hopping from one consulate to another.

About 100 migrant workers from the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and immigrants of United States registered their discontent in a consulates-hopping on December 15. Enraged, the migrant workers presented Hall of Shame Awards to their respective governments based on the issues confronting them.

For the Philippines, they presented the ¨Milk(ing the) Maid Award〃 to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for exacting excessive fees from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from the job-seeking stage until they arrive abroad to avert financial crisis. The Philippine delegates managed to deliver the mock award to Vice consul Arugay at the consulate.

Although OFWs are the top dollar-earners of the Philippines surpassing exports and foreign investments, the Philippine government neglects victims of illegal recruitment, breach in contract, physical abuse and discrimination. Moreover, the Philippine government persists in pushing its Labor Export Program to sell its labor force abroad to avert social unrest and to sustain the economy,〃 Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante International Chairperson, said.

OFW remittances keep the Philippine economy afloat amid fiscal crisis. This year, OFW remittance is projected to reach P12 billion, a 40 percent rise from last year.

Thai migrant workers experience the same government neglect, prompting them to give the Thailand government the "Absentee Award." The Indonesian government was awarded with a "Rookie Labor Exporter of the Year" for its fast growing labor-export year. The protesters, meanwhile, named the Malaysian government the "Sultan of Crackdown" for its despicable massive arrest and deportation of undocumented migrants. The Hong Kong government, on the other hand, received an "Edward Scissorhands Award" for its wage cuts and levy impositions. Meanwhile, King Gyanendra of Nepal was named the "King of Tyrants" for his dictatorial rule. Nepali migrant workers accused the king of curtailing their democratic rights.

The protesters ended the march at the U.S. embassy where they called U.S. President George W. Bush the "Migrants Terrorist" for waging wars of aggression, typecasting migrant workers as terrorists and formulating repressive anti-migrant legislation like the U.S. Patriot Act and Internal Security Law.

"Migrant workers share the same problems. They were forced to work abroad because of massive unemployment and unrest in their own countries due to globalization that destroyed their economy. Overseas, they experience more injustice. Instead of creating jobs, the governments of poor countries succumb to globalization, enter into agreements with other countries and export their labor force for the cheap consumption of powerful countries,'' Bragas-Regalado said.

Ms. Regalado added, "This is the very reason why migrant members of Migrante International, Asian Migrants Coordinating Body and the Intenational League of Peoples Struggle Migrants Study Commission are steadfast in the call to junk the World Trade Oranization that plunders and worsens the condition of underdeveloped countries."###
 

 

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The United States government: world leader

in the commodification and violation of rights of migrant workers
 

The United States government leads the pack of Hall of Shame awardees among the sending and host countries of migrant workers.

It terrorizes and kills migrant workers around the world by forcing its neoliberal globalization agenda through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its aggression against countries and movements fighting its hegemony under the guise of War on Terror.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), Non-Agricultural Market Access Agreement (NAMA) and the TRIPs all bear the trademark of the US desire to fully pry open all sectors of the economy of underdeveloped and developing countries for plunder and exploitation by multinational companies of the US, European Union (EU), Japan and other world powers.

These agreements will only make worse the situation of people in poor countries forcing more and more of them to leave their home countries and become cheap laborers in other countries including the US.

However, it is not only the US?economic agenda that kills migrant workers. The continuing US-led War on Terror?has also victimized migrant workers, refugees and our families. The hype on terrorism has been openly used by the US government to defeat countries and movements that defy its rule.
The war that the US waged in Afghanistan and in Iraq has cost the lives of migrants aside from exposing millions of migrants who work in the middle east to danger as well as jeopardizing their employment.

Meanwhile, political refugees are also persecuted by the US war. A clear example is the ongoing harassment and violation of the rights of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, a political refugee and chairperson of the ILPS, who was arbitrarily tagged by the US, EU and their allies as terrorists.

In the US itself, migrants and immigrants have suffered the brunt of the hysteria against Terror? The experiences of migrants and immigrants under the US?Patriot Act and Absconder Act have shown to the world that, even in its own soil, the US government tramples on the peoples rights for the sake of protecting and promoting the interests of US monopolies.

The murder of migrants by the US government and the terror it sows must stop. This includes the defeat of the WTO and its agenda. Together with our families and our compatriots in our home countries, migrant workers shall ensure that it will be so.#

 

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Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)
Members:
Association of Sri Lankans in Hong Kong (ASL-HK)
Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia - Hong Kong (ATKI-HK)
(Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers)
Far-East Overseas Nepalese Association - Hong Kong (FEONA-HK)
Friends of Thai - Hong Kong (FOT-HK)
Thai Regional Alliance (TRA-HK)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK)

c/o APMM, No. 2 Jordan Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

Tel no(s): (852) 2810-4379, 2314-7316
Fax no(s): 2526-2894, 2735-4559
E-mail: amcb@myrealbox.com
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