Statement of the Peoples Global Action (PGA) on the Unjustified Revocation of the Issued-Permit to Hold Parallel Events during the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development
October 17, 2008
We, the organizers of the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights, are outraged by the revocation of our permit to hold activities from October 22 – 30, 2008 at the Rajah Sulayman park, a public space, as parallel events organized by migrants, advocates, and other civil society organizations, to the forthcoming 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). The Manila City government had issued a permit for the use of the park last June 25, 2008 only to revoke it on October 2 on the recommendation of Manila Police District. It was conveyed to the PGA by fax on October 6, 2008 and was affirmed with finality on October 16, 2008 during our meeting with PNP PNP-NCRPO Regional Director Jefferson Soriano and Manila Police Department Director Roberto Rosales . We do not accept the so-called alternative venue that has been offered to us, the Mehan Garden / Bonifacio shrine, for doing so would mean accepting the further exclusion of migrant workers and their advocates from the global discussions at the 2nd GFMD which will take place at the PICC that would ultimately affect their plight.We recognize the GFMD in the Philippines as an event that can open opportunities for migrant workers and their advocates to meaningfully contribute to the current global discourse on migration and development. The People’s Global Action is planned to be organized in and around Rajah Sulayman Park, events open and visible to the public at-large and to the GFMD delegates themselves. Foreign and local dignitaries, such as Sharan Burrow of the Chairperson of the Civil Society Day of the 2nd GFMD and the First President of the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Luis de Alba of Mexico. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim among others are scheduled to address our activities The PGA is a demonstration of global cross-border solidarity among migrant workers and their advocates that is peaceful and legitimate. We had welcomed the issuance of our permit last June 25, a result of a transparent and aboveboard process of dialogue with city officials. To say that we are disappointed by its revocation at this late hour, is to say the least. The stated official reason for the last-minute revocation of the permit – and that is, that our ranks will be ‘infiltrated by the leftists’—is a flimsy reason without basis, and no more than the usual standard excuse whipped out by authorities when no other reasonable justification could be produced. The revocation of our permit is most unreasonable, and we cannot but view it as an extension of the national government’s policy of continued denial of migrant workers’ rights and the citizens’ rights to freedom of expression. Moreover, we believe it also reveals the increased anxiety of the national government and the forces of neo-liberal globalization in the light of the unfolding global financial crisis and its impending impact on the situation of migrants worldwide. The revocation of our permit signifies another act of ‘management’, also known as ‘control’, as in ‘the management of migration’ which now dominates official global discourse on development, but without substantive consideration for migrants’ rights and of the fundamental issues that underlie the so-called pursuit of development. We believe that migration should not be viewed merely as a problem or crisis to be ‘managed’; migrant workers and other citizens are not commodities to be traded, nor objects and statistics to be ‘managed’. In this moment of heightened insecurities among migrant workers and their families, especially in the face of the global financial crisis, the best policy on the part of governments would have been to extend a hand of assurance and demonstrate genuine openness to listen to the voices of those who would most likely suffer its adverse impact. Instead, we are witness to the further suppression of the voices of the migrant workers and the curtailment of our rights and freedoms. We cannot respond to this latest development with silence. We will continue to demonstrate the solidarity among migrants, migrant workers, their advocates, and all those concerned about development and democratic rights – a solidarity forged across borders and tempered by our common struggles and shared vision for a world that is more equitable and a future that is more sustainable and inclusive to all.
Sgd. Members of the Peoples Global Action
Ellene A. SanaExecutive Director, Center for Migrant Advocacy Member, PWGTelephones: 920-5003; 433-0684Cellphone: 0917 448 1464