Resist intensification of forced migration and commodification of migrants

Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the Global Compact on Migration
13 December 2018

What migrants around the world need is for States to commit to end forced migration and commodification of migrants. Unfortunately, the Global Compact for a Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is geared to not stop but even perpetuate abuse, exploitation and oppression of migrants with its faithful adherence to neoliberal frame and direction on migration.

As governments adopted the GCM, it is impossible for grassroots migrants to celebrate a document that does not reflect nor address the real plight of migrants and the worsening reality of forced migration. Instead, the GCM has only presented a sterilized picture of international migration, made the compact non-legally binding to governments, and worst, advocated for the continuance of the neoliberal agenda of managing migration for development.

The GCM process started out from the hype of the first UN Summit on Migrants and Refugees, which was convened as the reality of large-scale abuses and even deaths of migrants and refugees could not be denied anymore. In the said Summit, the IMA conveyed a clear challenge to States to commit to effectively address immediate human rights issues of migrants and the strategic resolution to forced migration and commodification.

Instead, the GCM was oriented to champion the migration for development framework that has characterized the discussions on migration in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, the Agenda 2030 and other development-related intergovernmental fora. Even calls for effective and genuine participation of the grassroots were not realized in the national level nor in the international processes held.

With such frame, the GCM is not only bound for failure but is crafted to just be an instrument of the flawed development strategy that relies on remittance, labor export, and the exploitation of the vulnerabilities of migrants.

Contrary to what the GCM conveys, current migration is not a process to manage but a problem of underdevelopment that has to be resolved. Migration management is a mere neoliberal catchphrase to systematize labor export in countries of origin of migrants, continue to criminalize and trample on the rights of undocumented migrants, while ensuring that cheap, docile and disposable workers are supplied in the global market for the super profit of businesses of the developed countries.

What the GCM does not want to present is the accountability of imperialist states in causing and instigating forced migration. While paying lip service to the “drivers of migration”, the GCM has failed to pinpoint what enables such “drivers” to exist.

The GCM denies the neoliberal policies imposed on underdeveloped countries that cause economies to plummet, poverty to intensify, unemployment and landlessness to worsen, exploitation of women to intensify and families to break apart to find greener pastures abroad. The GCM refuses to acknowledge the war and militarism agenda of imperialists to push their economic dominance that sets the stage for the exodus of millions as migrants and refugees.

The ongoing Central American Migrant Exodus for Life typifies the problem of forced migration. It has also shown how countries like the US resort to violence against those displaced by imperialist plunder, exploitation and exploitation. States also fan or do nothing against bigotry, chauvinism and xenophobia that understate the victimization of the displaced.

Refugees in many countries, including those in Morocco, also encounter violence and are even killed. They live in inhumane situation and their access to employment and public services are severely restricted.

Grassroots migrants and advocates have to remain vigilant of the GCM as a neoliberal instrument for forced migration and commodification of migrants. The defense of the rights of migrants does not rest on any instrument – especially on a compact that serves the neoliberal agenda on migration – but on the continued building of a strong movement on the ground.

It is only through a movement that forges solidarity and builds collective resistance against imperialist neoliberal dictates and wars and conflict that serve imperialist interests, that migrants can truly hope to end forced migration, abuses, exploitation and oppression of migrants.

Reference: Eni Lestari, IMA Chairperson
Email: ima.sect@gmail.com

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