GABRIELA USA Stands with Migrants and Refugees against UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development



October 15, 2013

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,


“Get up! Get down! There’s a migrant movement in this town!” echoed through the streets of New York City as hundreds of migrants from all over the world participated in the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees fourth gathering (IAMR4) and marched towards the United Nations Headquarters during the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development.


The UN High Level Dialogue (UNHLD) on Migration and Development is the UN formation responsible for creating the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a forum where imperialist governments discuss policies that will continue to systematize and maximize profit from the migration of the exploited and poor from countries controlled by foreign corporate interests. However, no migrants and refugees in the immigrant city of New York were invited to contribute their stories or their opinions.  Irma Bajar, International Relations Officer of GABRIELA USA and NYC-based organizer of IAMR4 stated, “To add insult to injury, the people who are forced out of their countries are left out of the dialogue.” Bajar continued, “Wherever the Global Forum on Migration and Development goes, we will be there to stand up for our migrant rights.”


From October 1-5, GABRIELA USA, alongside migrants from all over the world, convened in New York City for the IAMR4, in a series of events consisting of various workshop panels and plenaries on migrant issues worldwide, cultural activities and mobilizations. The IAMR4 put the voices of migrants from the grassroots at the forefront in the fight against injustice towards migrants. While the heads of state at the UN were discussing unmet and unreachable Millenium Development Goals, the IAMR4 countered these dialogues by instead promoting people’s development goals that push for jobs in home countries, workers’ protection, food sovereignty, and gender justice, amongst other goals that advocate for the human rights and welfare of migrants.


While the UNHLD is negotiating migration policies, migrants and their families are negatively affected by the existing policies that force people out of their countries to seek livelihood. “Forced migration is NOT development! The majority of migrants are women. They suffer from exploitation and gender violence abroad, with no protections from receiving and sending countries,” said Tina Shauf, Vice Chairperson of Campaigns for GABRIELA USA. Under neoliberal globalization, the exploitation of migrant women and problems of poverty and joblessness are wrought by imperialist economic and political plunder in Third World countries. Women are forced out and left vulnerable in foreign lands.


GABRIELA USA co-sponsored two workshops that reflected issues of women migrants: “Forced Migration and Its Impact on Women and Children” and “Labor Trafficking: Its Features, Legal Protection and Impact on Victims”. In these workshops, the panel included representatives from Mexico, Columbia, Peru, the Philippines, Canada and the United States. Many stories were shared regarding migrants in transit, forced migration due to land grabbing and political repression. The workshop participants were also able to actively and collectively come up with resolutions regarding the issues that were presented in the workshop.


GABRIELA USA reaffirms our commitment to organizing with and advocating for migrant women’s issues. Our participation in the IAMR4 pronounces our dedication to the rights and welfare of migrant women and to advancing the struggle for genuine change in the homelands that migrant women leave.