International Migrants Day 2022: Standing in solidarity with Migrant Communities around the Globe
Posted on December 18, 2022
Category: News

“The migrants united will never be defeated.”

Chanting was heard loudly in the room of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) 5th Global Assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand. The assembly was held for four days, from November 30th to December 3rd 2022, filled with the burning spirits of over 170 people who attended. The IMA Global Assembly meeting also created space for its members to address situations concerning  migrant communities in their respective geographical chapters. The sense of solidarity and enthusiasm of the members were felt throughout the program  attended by a full house every day.

On the second day of the Assembly (01/12), BEBESEA  co-host a side-event, together with IMA and International Seafarers Action Center, to discuss the human rights situation of seafarers and sea-based migrant workers in Asia-Pacific.  In addition to Xavier Bayoneta, a third-rank engineer and seafarer and the spokesperson of Concerned Seafarers of the Philippines, who gave first-hand accounts, the paneled consisted of  four speakers; Edwin Dela Cruz, President of International Seafarers Action Center (Philippines); Daniel Awigra, Executive Director of Human Rights Working Group (Indonesia); Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, Director of Department of Policies on Migrant Workers, Serve the People Association (Taiwan); Emma Martinez, Pacific Coast Coalition for Seafarers (USA). The discussion was attended by an audience of approximately 50 people from various countries who had gathered for the Global Assembly.

The ocean based economy provides significant numbers of jobs to people in East and Southeast Asia. Yet, the high demand in this sector is not matched by the availability of existing resources including human resources. Because of this gap in resources and the highly competitive market, workers in the sector often face labor rights issues, including exploitation and trafficking in persons. COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts have even exacerbated the situation. Through this discussion we addressed the questions such as: What are the patterns and causes of rights violations against seafarers and other sea-based workers?; What kinds of efforts have been made by relevant stakeholders to improve protection of seafarers and other sea based-workers?; What are challenges and opportunities for cross-regional and international solidarity building and collective advocacy?

The discussion was filled with very insightful information and recommendations on ways forward from all the speakers. BEBESEA is currently working on a report on human rights situations and advocacy of seafarers and sea-based migrant workers that will include documentation of this event with the support of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF).

We are also delighted  to announce that BEBESEA was officially accepted to become an Associate Member of IMA. This will strengthen BEBESEA”s continuous work with  migrant communities to advocate for migrant  rights in solidarity.

Lastly, BEBESEA will host a cross-regional workshop to invite members of grass-roots organizations and individual activists to exchange their experiences of advocacy, learn about different frameworks and arenas for regional and international advocacy and improve capacity to develop and implement their own and joint advocacy strategies. “Cross-regional Workshop on Solidarity Building and Collective Advocacy on Rights of Seafarers and Sea-based Migrant Workers” will be held on 2-3 February 2023 virtually, and we are calling for participants. We look forward to receiving your application to participate in this workshop and learning together.


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