NNIRR Joins People's Global Action and Calls for Migrants Rights, End to Forced Migration

For Immediate Release

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
Contact: 

Arnoldo García, NNIRR, +63 908 359-8289 agarcia@nnirr.org (Español/English)
Colin Rajah, NNIRR, +63 908 406-0820, crajah@nnirr.org 

NNIRR Joins People's Global Action and Calls for Migrants Rights, End to Forced Migration

Philippine Government revokes public meeting permit, riot police attempt to block People's Global Action march

Manila, Philippines - The
U.S.-based National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
joined with scores of organizations from around the world, representing
migrant rights, women's, labor, domestic workers and human rights
groups to open the international gathering, "People's Global Action on
Migration, Development and Human Rights" (PGA). Organized by an
international coalition working with Philippine groups, the PGA is a
major parallel event to governments who are meeting in Manila for their
second "Global Forum on Migration and Development" (GFMD).

Colin
Rajah, representing NNIRR in the international working group organizing
the PGA in Manila, pointed out, "Migrants have rights; they are not
commodities to be bought, sold, shipped and deported when they are no
longer needed."

The PGA applied and received a public permit
from the Philippine government more than four months ago to hold their
events at the Rajah Sulayman Park, across from the shores of Manila
Bay. Days before the opening, the Philippine government revoked the
PGA's permit, fearing the international exposure on the issues of
migrants. In response, the Malate Catholic Church opened their doors
and the PGA was able to hold the opening meeting in the Church's
parking lot, across from the Rajah Sulayman Park.

Governments' "Managed Migration" Policies Criminalize Migrants

Speaker
after speaker from the Philippines, Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America
and the U.S. shared their "cuento," or story of migration, denouncing
how governments, employers and corporations subject migrants to abuses.
Nunu Kidane with Priority Africa Network (PAN), a U.S.-based diaspora
organization, pointed out how Indigenous people and other migrants from
Mexico and Latin America are dying in the deserts and mountains on the
U.S. side of the Mexico border while African migrants are drowning in
the Mediterrean Sea attempting to reach Europe. These deaths are a
consequence of deliberate policies of "migration management" and other
restrictive policies that criminalize status and provide no relief for
the disastrous effects of globalization.

Led by William Gois of
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), the PGA rally then began to march towards
the Rajah Sulayman Park. Some 50 police agents, in riot gear and
brandishing shields and batons, rushed over to block the march.

With
hand-made signs, waving banners and flags, marchers began chanting
"Migrant rights are Human Rights!" and marched around the park. Towards
the close of the rally, Rex Varona with the Asian Migrant Center (AMC)
in Hong Kong, along with other speakers repeated during the rally that
"Governments must end forced migration; migrant workers are not
commodities!" The PGA marched around the park and police, ending their
peaceful assembly where it began -- at the church parking lot.

Migrant Rights Are Human Rights

"We
are in Manila raising the voices of our communities reminding the
governments that migrants have rights that they must uphold and
protect," added Rajah, who also directs NNIRR's International Migrant
Rights and Global Justice Program.

NNIRR
is posting interviews, news and video reports of the activities and
work of the People's Global Action on Migration, Development and Human
Rights and the participation of PGA groups in the Global Forum on
Migration and Development at:

http://www.migrantdiaries.blogspot.com

www.YouTube.com/user/NNIRR1985

For more information on the People's Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights please also visit:

www.mfasia.org/peoplesglobalaction

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Formed in 1986, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a national organization composed of immigrant and refugee community groups, coalitions, labor, women's, civil and human rights activists and organizers dedicated to promoting and defending the human rights of all immigrants, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.

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