Further Advance the Rights, Lives and Freedoms of Women Migrants, Immigrants and Refugees! Let Us Strengthen the Global Movement of Resistance against Imperialism!
Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the 100th Year of the International Working Women’s Day
The International Migrants Alliance celebrates the 100th year of the International Working Women’s Day by further advancing the causes of our struggling women migrants, immigrants and refugees and joining the growing international people’s movement against imperialist war and plunder, exploitation and oppression.
As we speak, thousands, nay millions, of women migrants, immigrants and refugees the world over are suffering. As abject poverty and the need to survive push them out of their countries and find work abroad, they are further subjected to the most despicable forms of abuse, maltreatment and violence.
Foreign domestic workers, mostly women, continue to be denied of their rights and freedoms. They work more than eight hours a day but are receiving subhuman wages. Days off and rest days are unheard of in many countries with the likes of Malaysia instituting this right only last year. At the receiving end of racial slurs, physical and even sexual abuse, they are the epitome of modern-day slavery as domestic work remains to be unrecognized as work.
Owning half the sky yet receiving the utmost abuse, women migrant workers are most vulnerable. In Central America, women migrants, whether young or old, are raped while they are in transit. They become vulnerable to HIV, like the Bangladeshi women in Arab states. They become easy prey for human trafficking and smuggling.
Women refugees are stripped off their health rights as they are forced to pay high fees to enjoy medical attention. Many of the children they bear are not recognized by the state and henceforth rendered stateless. Most of them even continue to be persecuted not only by governments of their mother countries but of their host countries as well. The planned crackdown in Thailand, for example, aims to target Burmese women refugees as well.
The continued existence of the Global Forum on Migration and Development does not only ignore this abject state of women migrants, immigrants and refugees but justifies it. Ever since its inception in 2007, the GFMD placed labor migration at the center of the neoliberal globalization agenda which only meant one thing: workers are to be exported at the cheapest rate yet without even an iota of rights.
International conventions protecting the rights of women migrants, immigrants and refugees are like dust to continued blows of host governments imposing virulent and oppressive border control policies like that of Fortress Europe. Racial discrimination is being fanned frantically as like those in Italy become easy targets for race-related crimes.
Such conditions strengthen the foundation of why we struggle, of why we need to organize, of why we have the International Migrants Alliance.
There is greater urgency to build organizations for and by women migrants, immigrants and refugees on the ground. With a calibrated attack on our rights, lives and freedoms, we can confront such with collective strength. Victories in the past struggles of women migrants, immigrants and refugees have proven that by collectively asserting our rights and demands, we can prevail.
As the attacks become global, let us strengthen the movement of resistance at the international level. Let the women members of the IMA contribute greatly to the formation of the International Women’s Assembly that shall happen August this year.The 100th year of the International Working Women’s Day is a reminder that the struggle continues and will be pursued until all structures that oppress and exploit women being perpetrated by imperialism are dismantled.