International Assembly of Migrants & Refugees 4

Migration is NOT a Free Choice!
We are NOT a Tool for Development!
Migrants Worldwide Announce October Gathering in New York City
to Expose UN Agenda
Filipino Community
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Filipino Community
NEW YORK CITY/HONG KONG– As the Senate debate over immigration reform continues in Washington- a debate that will directly impact the lives of tens of millions of immigrants in the US, migrant organizations worldwide are announcing plans for a gathering in New York City on October 2-4 in response to the concurrently scheduled United Nations’ High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (UN HLD).
The International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) organized by the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) this October will be the fourth. The previous three IAMRs were held in Manila, Athens, and Puerto Vallarta in response to the 2008-2010 meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a body formed by the UN HLD in 2006.
A Struggle for Families
“I was part of the third IAMR Assembly in Mexico because it is important to continue fighting for migrant families and build international solidarity,” states Elvira Arellano, a migrant leader with Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano or M3, a convening organization of the IAMR 3 and upcoming IAMR 4.
Arellano became a symbol for over 12 million undocumented immigrants- particularly mothers- in the US when in 2006 she evaded a deportation order by seeking refuge with her young son Saul at the United Methodist Church of Adaberto in Chicago, where she remained for 12 months. She was eventually arrested, forcibly separated from her son, and deported back to Mexico in 2007. Mother and son were reunited shortly after.
Arellano and her son remain active in immigrant rights struggle.
“I support the 4th Assembly because it is a space where everyone can contribute ideas for the militant struggle, together we can make great progress and changes that benefits migrants and their families,” Arellano continued.
Migration is Not a Free Choice, But a Means to Survive
Since 2006, the UN HLD has presented itself as the lead global platform for discussion on international migration and development.  In its first meeting, it formed the GFMD as an annual forum to sell-off migration and remittance-sending as anti-poverty strategies towards reaching the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.
“We live in a world where migration is not a free choice, but a means to survive. Development must start in our home countries, by addressing and working towards eliminating the root causes that force people to migrate in the first place,” states IMA Chairperson Eni Lestari, a domestic worker from Indonesia who has been working in Hong Kong for 15 years. “Development should not rely on forced migration because forced migration is a barometer for underdevelopment.”
People’s Goals
The IAMR4 is proposing the UN adoption of the People’s Goals for Development, a valid set of alternatives to the sustainable development goals being proposed for the post-2015 UN development agenda.
Alongside addressing the root causes of forced migration, Lestari said that the IAMR has served as a venue for grassroots migrant, refugees and advocates to unite on major issues that violate the human, worker and women’s rights of migrants.
“Aside from adopting strategies for a sound, sustainable and equitable development that is not reliant on the current trend of forced migration and labour export, governments must also formulate plans to address the increasing violation of the rights – economic, political, social and cultural – of migrants in relation to policies both of sending and receiving countries,” Lestari concludes.
For more information on the IAMR 4, visit

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