OFW groups converge in Mexico for 4th IAMR

Migrante International in solidarity with other migrant groups and organizations have converged in Mexico City to attend the 4th International Assembly for Migrants and  Refugees (IAMR).

The IAMR coincides yearly with the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) being hosted this year by the Mexican government.

The GFMD is an annual international conference on migration and development issues, following the High Level Dialogue on Migration organized by the United Nations (UN) in New York in September 2006.

The IAMR is a collaborative effort of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and Migrante International, with the support of Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, IBON International, International League of Peoples’ Struggles, Bayan Philippines, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development – Task Force on Labor and Migration and CARAM Asia. The first IAMR was held in the Philippines in 2008

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, the IAMR’s main thrust is to belie the GFMD’s claim that “migration is a tool for development”.

Martinez said, “The international gathering aims to develop awareness on the GFMD process, critically discuss and analyze the impact of neo-liberal globalization, and build process of attaining the migrant consensus as the legitimate and genuine platform of migrants to the GFMD, and help strengthen bonds among migrants, refugees and advocates.”

“We perceive the IAMR as the ‘genuine gathering of migrants and refugees from all over the world. It is here and not in the GFMD where migrants and refugees gather to dicuss our issues and concerns. It is where we speak of the horrors, struggles and tragedies that forced migration has caused us, our families and our societies.”

Martinez said that Migrante International and its affiliate organizations worldwide are attending the IAMR as “direct witnesses to the palpable elitism of the GFMD through its exclusion of millions of overseas Filipinos, as well as migrants of other nationalities”.

“We condemn the GFMD’s agenda of forcing migrants to bear the burden of keeping sagging economies like that of the Philippines afloat. It has no intention whatsoever to speak for the interests of migrants.”

“Instead of strengthening basic local industries to provide work for its citizens, the GFMD aims to pressure governments to encourage their citizens to work abroad,” he said. ##