15 Rights and welfare of homeless people, refugees and migrant workers displaced by imperialism

Final Resolution for Workshop 15
Presented at the Workshop of Conerns of the ILPS First International Assembly
For Approval of the International Coordinating Committe
25-27 May 2001
Zutphen, The Netherlands

Rights and welfare of homeless people, refugees and migrant workers displaced by imperialism

We, participants coming from different countries such as Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and the USA gathered in this workshop on “Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons” of the First International Activity of the International League of People’s Struggles in The Netherlands on May 25-27, 2001, unite on the following:-

WHEREAS, almost 90 million people are living outside their country of birth as immigrants, migrant workers, political refugees and homeless people brought about by economic and political problems and conflicts in their respective countries and there is an increasing trend of forced migration and consequently higher forms of exploitation. Most of these persons are found in oppressed nations;

WHEREAS, there is an increasing trend of migrant women becoming victims of imperialist globalization. This is further exacerbated by the non-recognition of their work. They are also the most vulnerable victims of human trafficking for profit;

WHEREAS, imperialist globalization through neo-liberal policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization imposed by the IMF-WB and GATT-WTO and other financial institutions and trading blocs, and perpetuated by imperialist masters and their puppet regimes in order to rake in super profits, benefits only the ruling class and not the majority of the people who are poor;

WHEREAS, imperialist globalization further impoverishes the economies of oppressed and under developed countries by maintaining them perpetually backward, without basic industries, import-dependent, export-oriented, foreign-dominated and de-industrialized. Its ill-effects have wrought poverty and untold miseries to the majority of the people. Workers are subjected to contractualization and casualization, depressed wages, and curtailment of their rights; peasants, including indigenous peoples, are more and more driven out of their lands and livelihood; women, and children are forced to labor under very exploitative conditions;

WHEREAS, imperialist globalization breeds on puppet, authoritarian and fascist rule which intensifies political persecution in our countries and have forced thousands of cause-oriented and freedom-loving compatriots to seek asylum and refuge outside the country. Imperialist globalization means war. War is both a consequence and means to reproduce poverty. Thus, in the years to come there will be an increasing trend as we expect more refugees and displaced people;

WHEREAS, the internal conditions in poor and underdeveloped countries have left the people of oppressed and underdeveloped countries, poverty-stricken and persecuted, without any option: migrate or leave their country and family in order to survive;

WHEREAS, the migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, and homeless people comprise a huge pool of human resources as cheap labor and as a very profitable business for recruiters and governments of sending and receiving countries;

WHEREAS, puppet regimes and the ruling classes of oppressed and under developed countries have developed and intensified labor export policies and programs (LEP) in order to curb balance of trade and payment deficits, and generate foreign-exchange revenues, and thereby pass on the burden of economic crisis to the people. These LEPs legalize and institutionalize the commodification of migrants. Likewise, these LEPs have become permanent features of their so-called economic development program and strategy;

WHEREAS, governments and the ruling classes of capitalist countries exploit migrant workers, immigrants, refugees and homeless persons as source of cheap labor by using labor-import schemes (calling it “international sharing of human resources”) and oppressive policies that pit migrants against migrants, migrants against local workers, depress wages and benefits of workers, and attempts to destroy the workers movement and solidarity movement of the working class with the other marginalized sectors of society;

WHEREAS, the most vulnerable group of migrants are undocumented migrants. Not only is their existence and rights not recognized, but they are also criminalized and subjected to unlawful arrest, detention and deportation, in contravention of international standards and we expect this trend of undocumented migrants to increase.

WHEREAS, current globalization strategies and restructuring of economies with liberalization, deregulation and privatization encourage migrant labor. The demand for cheap, flexible and contractual labor by capital has also brought about highly organized recruitment of labor across borders. This creates a highly profitable industry for human trafficking for forced labor, prostitution and other forms of slavery.

WHEREAS, despite the huge financial contribution of migrant workers, they are subjects of exploitative laws and regulations by both sending and receiving governments. Fees, taxes and levies are exacted from them, while racist and discriminatory policies are applied to them. Recruitment, labor and health policies covering migrant workers deny and/or do not guarantee the full enjoyment of their health rights and increases their vulnerability to disease and ill health.

WHEREAS, despite the existence of international and regional conventions governing refugees and political asylum seekers (i.e. Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), lackeys of imperialism are doing their best to circumvent these instruments. More restrictive policies and laws are being adopted against refugees making it more difficult for them to seek and access asylum;

WHEREAS, we find much strength, inspiration and hope from the ongoing struggle of migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, and homeless people the world over to assert their human dignity.

In view of the above, WE RESOLVE TO:

  1. Demand the following to the governments:

    1. Ratification and implementation of UN and ILO conventions and instruments for the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families by sending and receiving countries.

    2. Recognition of the rights of undocumented migrant workers.

    3. Recognition of the right to asylum of political refugees.

    4. The indemnification of displaced people who are victims of militarization or conflicts by their respective governments.

  2. We resolve to work towards the empowerment of migrant worker, immigrants, refugees and homeless people through their self organization, helping in their program for education, organization and mobilization, to struggle for their rights and welfare, and to challenge imperialist/capitalist globalization.

  3. We demand the full and strict implementation of conventions protecting and upholding the rights of women migrants, women immigrants, women refugees, homeless women, and addressing their specific needs and vulnerability.

  4. We resolve to oppose the use of health as a tool to discriminate and regulate the movement of people, especially migrant workers. We demand the abolition of mandatory testing as a pre-employment requisite and as a term for deportation. We also demand access for migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, and homeless people to culturally appropriate health information and services.

  5. We resolve to expose and oppose labor export policies which institutionalize the commodification of labor and consequent abuse of migrant workers. On the other hand we demand for thorough going socio-economic reforms that will create decent jobs and promote equity.

  6. Assist in promoting, establishing and facilitating relations between migrant workers’ organizations to undertake campaigns for the protection of their rights and welfare.

  7. Establish a coordinating body on the national level and regional levels of migrants’ organizations to undertake campaigns for the protection of their rights and welfare.

  8. Work towards achieving unity around a common program of action for holding of international campaigns against imperialism’s exploitation of cheap labor from oppressed countries.

  9. Develop and collate in-depth studies and analyses on the phenomenon of forced migration from the perspective of migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, and homeless people. Such a study will include the following: a) the impact of remittances of migrant workers b) the impact on the economy of the labor importation scheme of receiving countries c) the impact on the human dignity and family/community.

  10. Establish support and maximize the use of existing systems to assist migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, and homeless people in receiving and sending countries, who are in need and who have problems.

  11. We declare to campaign trafficking in people a crime against humanity.

  12. We declare one day in a year as the International Day of Resistance for all migrants, immigrants, refugees, displaced and homeless people. This will be an international day of protest against imperialism wherein all will launch simultaneous actions against laws and policies that affect them.

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