Int’l migrants’ court finds 37 states guilty of modern-day slavery

THE first ever International Migrants’ Tribunal found 37 migrant-sending and -receiving States, ncluding the Philippines, guilty of perpetuating modern-day slavery on migrant workers.

The Tribunal was held at the University of the Philippines College of Law on November 28-29. It was attended by at least 300 delegates from the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Australia, Latin America and United States.

The Tribunal’s panel of judges delivered the verdict this morning, concluding the two-day proceedings that highlighted testimonies from witnesses consisting of complainants from grassroots migrants’ organizations representing migrant workers, refugees, domestic workers, undocumented or irregular migrants, women migrants and expert witnesses.

The judges of the Tribunal were invited by the organizers Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) on the basis of their expertise, competence, probity, objectivity and independence to hand down a credible and judgment or verdict.

The Tribunal put into trial the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and its neoliberal globalization design on migration. It examined cases of violations of migrants’ rights by States and featured the resistance of grassroots migrants against modern-day slavery.

The 37 States found guilty are Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.  They were found guilty on three charges, namely:

Violation of the Complainants’ human rights.

Criminal neglect of Complainants’ economic rights and violation of their political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Sending States.

Violation of the Complainants’ political, economic, social and cultural rights by the Receiving States. (Please see attached copy of verdict)

They were also found guilty of violating provisions and principles embodied, among others, in the:

a. 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

b. 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

c. 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

d. 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;

e. The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol;

f. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

g. 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

h. 1984 Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

i. 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child;

j. 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols;

k. ILO Migration for Employment Convention (Revised); and

l. ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189).

The verdict will be submitted to the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development which will convene in New York, USA in 2013.

On November 30, judges, witnesses and delegates of the Tribunal from will participate in the big multisectoral rally in commemoration of the 149th birth anniversary of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio.

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