Our experience of detention and deportation unmasks the pretensions of the G20 Summit to work for greater global fiscal stability, and reveals its disregard for peoples’ human rights and dignity.
As host of the G20 meeting, the South Korean government should be ensuring the connection between issues of concern for developing countries (like poverty, decent work, and fair trade among others) and efforts towards a sustainable economic growth and development. Instead, its actions only show that the agenda of the G20 countries will continue to disregard the economic and political rights of peoples.
As a migrants’ rights advocacy network, we see this concretely as the continuation of the exploitative “migration and development” agenda characterized by increased migration for the purpose of employment, irregular migration, continued promotion of temporary migration which deny migrant workers basic rights as changing jobs, family reunion and long term residence, lack of security, higher risks of abuse and violations of human rights, and placing the burden on poor, low-skilled migrant workers to help develop nations in the Global South through hard-earned remittances. This agenda is a crucial part of corporate globalization and the restructuring of the global economy based on the neo-liberal model led by multinational corporations, powerful governments, and international financial institutions like the World Bank (WB). This however has terribly failed as evidenced by worsened poverty, job losses, endemic unemployment and underemployment, food insecurity, indebtedness, displacement of communities, and even the current climate crisis. Massive labour migration and migrants being used as cheaper, vulnerable and disposable workers to enhance global competitiveness have only enriched companies, businesses and the economic elites.
The recently concluded Peoples’ Global Action in Mexico also reports that migration policy is increasingly framed as a national security issue rather than a rights issue. National security has been used to justify increasingly restrictive immigration control regimes, tightening borders and forcing millions of migrants into irregular status. A perfect example of this is the “G-20 Preemptive Response” that the Lee Myung Bak administration adopted as early as May this year to justify special investigations, day and night raids, random street checking and arrests in areas with high concentration of foreigners . In other words, the G20 Summit was used as an excuse to further crackdown on undocumented migrant workers whom they also criminalize and racially discriminate against. In 2009, it was reported that the arrests and deportations of the current administration already passed the total figure of its predecessor.
The intensified crackdown on undocumented migrant workers results in fear and violence . When I informed my colleagues about our deportation from Seoul, I was also informed that a Vietnamese migrant worker died after jumping from the second floor during such a raid over the weekend. The Seoul Metropolitan Police says a crackdown is necessary for a successful holding of the G20 Summit as undocumented migrants make the city a slum and dangerous. This is a cowardly and xenophobic response to the presence of migrant workers who significantly contribute to the South Korean economy, and the global economy as well through remittances.
The decision to blacklist international Filipino activists and manhandling them likewise manifest a racist attitude and show contempt for peoples’ political rights. It is to silence the voices of developing peoples’ opposition to the G20. It is to perpetuate an unjust economic system where developed and rich nations will continue the control and management of the global economy and financial system.
We join our colleagues in the G20 resistance movement in denouncing this blatant and racist act of human rights violation of the Lee Myung Bak administration. WE DEMAND AN APOLOGY FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH KOREA and WE CALL ON THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE THIS DIPLOMATIC PROTEST.
In its continued refusal to listen to the voices from the ground, we reject the G20 as the “premier forum for international economic cooperation…to build and balance the global economy, reform the financial system, and improve the lives of the poor”.
STOP THE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REPRESSION OF PEOPLES’ RIGHTS!
In its disregard for peoples’ aspirations, we deplore the persistent adoption of the neo-liberalist agenda as the framework for global recovery.
WE CALL ON ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD TO UNITE AGAINST THE G20 AGENDA AND TOGETHER SEEK AND AFFIRM AN ALTERNATIVE WORLD THAT RESPECTS HUMAN RIGHTS AND PROMOTES SOLIDARITY AND JUSTICE.
Maria Lorena “Tatcee” Macabuag
Migrant Forum in Asia
10 November 2010