Migrante condemns criminalization of undocumented migrants in EU-wide crackdown

undocsGlobal alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International condemns in strongest terms the ongoing crackdowns resulting in the criminalization of undocumented migrants and refugees being implemented by the European Union.

The EU-wide crackdown called “MOS MAIORUM” has launched massive police operations to hunt down undocumented or irregular migrants and refugees in the region. Operations have started last October 13 and is set to end on October 26. MOS MAIORUM has been approved by the Council of the European Union last July 10, 2014 and is being implemented under Italy’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Overseas Filipino workers and Filipino migrants in Europe have expressed grave concern as more than 20,000 police officers have been deployed in massive operations ranging from increasing checks in airports, stations, trains, main roads and highways to house raids. The main objective of the operations is to actively hunt down undocumented migrants and arrest as many as possible within the time frame of its implementation.

“We call on the European Union to call for a stop this inhumane operation. Under the guise of going after crime and trafficking syndicates, MOS MAIORUM is giving license to EU authorities and police to indiscriminately arrest and violate the rights of irregular migrants, and promote xenophobia and racial discrimination,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez said that MOS MAIORUM is in direct violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. These conventions do not discriminate against undocumented and irregular migrant workers, he said.

“Being undocumented is never reason to be stripped of one’s fundamental human rights. Undocumented migrants and refugees, who inevitably provide solutions to labor shortages or the clamor for cheap labor in host countries, especially in times of economic crisis, should not be marginalized and exploited. They are already less able to assert their claims and are more vulnerable to abuses. MOS MAIORUM will only make them more susceptible to grave abuses and human rights violations.”

Martinez said that while they fully support moves to prevent human trafficking, Migrante believes that MOS MAIORUM will not solve but rather further exacerbate the problem. Instead of arresting irregular migrants and treating them as criminals, their status should be rectified because it makes them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by crime syndicates.

Further, MOS MAIORUM is being implemented at a time when health epidemics, civil wars and conflicts in the Middle East-North Africa region and elsewhere in the world continue. Millions of people are on the run because of these. Such a situation makes it a tool for crime and trafficking syndicates to intensify their activities. Constricting borders and implementing stringent immigration policies will not only cost lives but will also worsen trafficking in persons in the region, Martinez said.

Migrante International supports the international campaign for the de-criminalization and legalization of undocumented migrants and refugees.

According to December 2011 data of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there is an estimated 746,701 Filipinos in Europe, 138,088 are undocumented. ###

 

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