MANILA, Philippines—An alliance of Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East urged the government to formally ask the Thai government to stop the on-going crackdown of migrants in its territory.
“The state parties to the United Nations Convention for the Protection of Migrants and members of their Families, especially those governments that have ratified the said Convention (including the Philippines) should speak out and to formally ask the Thai government to stop the crackdown of migrants,” said John Leonard Monterona, a Saudi-based OFW who serves as the regional coordinator of Migrante International in the Middle East.
Migrante-Middle East made such call amid the impending crackdown of migrant workers, mostly from Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, by the Thai Royal Government in implementing its so called national verification scheme.
“The governments that signified and ratified the UN Convention for the Protection of migrants and members of their families are not only responsible in bringing the UN Conventions into effect in their respective countries by adhering to the principles and norms set forth by the UN Conventions for Migrants but they too are also expected to defend it and urge other non-state signatory to observe and pay respect to the said UN Convention for Migrants,” Monterona averred.
The following countries have ratified the Convention as of March 2007[update]: Argentina, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda and Uruguay.
In addition, several countries have signed the Convention. This means that their government has expressed the intention of adhering to the Convention. These are: Bangladesh (in 1998), Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Paraguay, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone (in 2000), Togo (in 2001), Cambodia, Gabon, Indonesia, Liberia, and Serbia and Montenegro (in 2004).
“The Philippines is a state signatory to the said UN Convention, thus it is expected from the RP government to speak out against the impending crack down of migrant workers in Thailand especially if there are OFWs that will be affected by this,” Monterona added.
“Not only that, the RP government must also work for the legalization of thousands of undocumented and illegal migrants along side with receiving host governments, but sad to say we have not heard any effort from the Arroyo administration,” Monterona continued.
Monterona cited for instance that in the Middle East there are about 3,000 undocumented and illegal stayers. He added every day Migrante chapters are receiving cases of undocumented OFWs asking how could they be home since they are already illegal migrants after they have ran away from their abusive employers.