December 18 is International Migrants Day
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -Today is December 18; it was the same date on the year 1990 when member nation-states of the United Nations signed on theInternational Convention for the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of their Families. The Convention entered into force only on July 1, 2003 after it reached the required numbers of ratifying States that was reached in March 2003.
The said UN Convention is considered to be an international agreement aims at protecting the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. It provides a set of moral standard, and serves as a guide and stimulus for the promotion of migrant rights in each country.
The Philippines is among those countries that have ratified the convention early on March 2003 along with other migrant-sending countries such as Mexico and Morocco.
“It could be recalled that what prompted the Philippine government to signify and later ratified the UN Convention for the protection of Migrants were the rampant cases of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abuses and maltreatment abroad especially in the Middle East,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona observed that seven (7) years since the Philippine ratification of the UN Convention for the protection of Migrants, the conditions of OFWs abroad is becoming worst with the surge of OFWs cases of abuses and maltreatment and labor malpractices and OFWs have not been treated fairly and no protection while working abroad.
“The rampant cases of abuses, maltreatment, labor malpractices and other forms of dehumanization of our migrant workers is a reflection of the PH government failure to guarantee equality of treatment, and providing protection to our Filipino migrants despite the huge remittances it brought back helping the Philippine economy survived,” Monterona added.
Monterona said at the minimum, the PH government failed to provide a certain degree of protection to OFWs abroad characterized by patent neglect on OFWs cases by inept embassy officials.
“No one could deny the fact of per country reports of OFWs abuses in the host local media as well as in the Philippine media, despite mounting demands of protection from OFWs organizations and from OFWs families in the Philippines,” Monterona averred.
“If there has been no concrete protection provided to legally deployed OFWs, how much more to illegal and undocumented, which the PH govt. is duty-bound to protect and provide assistance based on the UN Convention and its own laws for migrants,” the Saudi-based OFW leader said.
He cited that in Saudi Arabia alone there are about an estimated 30,000 undocumented out of the 1.2-M OFWs.
“The PH govt. under the Aquino administration and the host-receiving governments are reminded that we, OFWs, are not only workers; we are also human beings, as such migrants have inherent rights to be protected and guaranteed. Protect OFWs abroad!” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator