18 December 2013
Today, on International Migrants Day, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) commemorates the contributions made by millions of migrants all over the world and calls on the global community to respect the human rights and dignity of migrant workers and members of their families!
Currently, the number of international migrants reached an all-time record number of 232 million, a notable increase from 175 million in 2000. In a growing globalized climate, migrant workers are playing a bigger role in building national infrastructures and fueling the engines of economies in countries of destination, as well as back home. However, we must not neglect the inherent risks undertaken by citizens in their journeys for “greener pastures”. While today should be a celebratory occasion on the achievements of and for migrants, MFA also acknowledges the hardships faced by migrants in 2013.
2013 Year in Review for Migrants
In September 2013, the Malaysian government launched a special operation to deport an estimated 500,000 undocumented migrants, a majority coming from the South and Southeast Asian corners of the globe such as Indonesia, Burma, Bangladesh, Philippines and Nepal. Another immigration “crackdown” went into effect at the end of an amnesty period in November, resulting in the arrests, detention, and deportation of millions of Bangladeshis, Indians, Filipinos, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Indonesians from Saudi Arabia. MFA echoes the calls of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants and claims that detention should never be an automatic response or solution to the “problem” of undocumented workers. MFA calls upon states to move away from the crime prevention framework and to respect and ensure the human rights of undocumented migrants as stipulated in the UN International Bill of Human Rights.