On March 24 to 25, 18 participants from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Indonesia gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for the Regional Training on UN Agenda 2030. Organized by the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), the activity aims to raise awareness of migrants on the UN Agenda 2030 and develop their capacity in advocacy, campaign and media work around this issue in relation to their migrant concerns.
Gomer Padong of the Philippine Social Enterprise Network provided a crash course introduction to the migrants on Agenda 2030. According to him, the Agenda 2030 proposes a holistic approach to development strategies and calls for pursuing all dimensions of sustainable development in balanced and integrated way. However, the biggest challenge in understanding UN Agenda 2030 is to translate this at the country level by prioritizing areas of concern, setting national targets—balance ambition with realism and setting interim target—political accountability.
Marjorie Pamintuan of Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) provided the context when the UN Agenda 2030 is being proposed and approved by governing bodies. According to Pamintuan, one needs to recognize the current and growing inequalities between nations and among peoples as the said agenda is being pushed. She said that it will be important to unite and raise the voices of the people in the ground in influencing and ensuring the people’s perspective in the over-all implementation of the sustainable development goals.
Aaron Ceradoy of the APMM shared about the migrants’ perspective on the Agenda 2030 and how we can utilize this in advancing the migrants’ agenda both at the national and international levels.
For the regional training, the APMM released a Resource Toolkit on UN Agenda 2030 to serve as guide for migrants to understand its context and relevance in advancing the agenda of migrants for decent lives, human rights, job security and justice. The said resource toolkit included guide on how to do advocacy and campaign and maximize the media as a tool of organizing and raising the awareness of the target community. Trainers were Rev. Joram Calimutan (on campaigning), Butch Pongos (on advocacy), Joan Salvador (on media work), and Rey Asis (on social media).
During the regional training, the participants agreed to utilize UN Agenda 2030 in their particular advocacy and campaign that promotes human rights protection, justice and sustainable employment. For Taiwan they will continue their campaign for Nationality Act and link it to Agenda 2030. Through series of activities like press conference, singing salon, exposure tours and story telling about stateless children, the TASAT (Transnational Sisters Association of Taiwan) is aiming to reach to other nationalities and expand its membership.
For Australia, the Women’s Speak Out will use the UN Agenda of 2030 in furtherance of its campaign for equitable working conditions while in South Korea whose 4% of its total population are migrants through different organization of marriage migrants they will work on the campaign against racial discrimination, for the legalization of undocumented children, for revision of EPS (Employment Permit System) and expand its membership that will give way to establishing more counseling centers, education and networks with other organization.
Bangladesh through Witness Bangladesh will campaign for safe, regular and orderly migration. They would use video reporting for public to know the realities of migration, lobby for a decentralized service and regularly monitor fraudulent individuals or groups who victimize Bangladeshi people. On the hand, Japan led by KAFIN will campaign for a 3-year residency as requirement to be able to acquire Special Permit to Stay, against discrimination and for gender equality and aggressively work for mass education and information drive about the rights and welfare of marriage migrants and migrants to increase its membership and establish networks with other organizations. They also seek to start their media work to let the public know about the concrete condition of migrants in Japan.
In Hong Kong, the campaign against discrimination of marriage migrants especially from Mainland China remains a challenge despite the existence of Race Discrimination Ordinance. The New Arrival Women’s League will continue to work with Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, Diocesan Pastoral Center and with different migrant organizations and unions in advancing the rights and welfare of marriage migrants and migrants while in Indonesia, through the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI) they will campaign to revise National Law 39/400. The said law does not recognize the existence of migrant organizations and the undocumented migrants especially in Malaysia and the Netherlands. Through various activities such as movie screening, different cultural activities, May 1 rally as well as Indonesian Independence Day and Human Rights Day to raise the level of awareness of migrants on the realities of Indonesian migration.
Lastly, the Philippines through Migrante International shared that there are about 12-15 million Filipinos scattered in different countries according to Philippine government data. They experience different forms of violations like the Saudi crisis that resulted to thousands of OFWs being stranded. Despite the difficulties and violations besetting Filipino migrants in different countries, the Philippine government continue to intensify it labor export policy. Thus, Migrante International is continuing its campaign to abolish LEP and call on the Philippine government to create jobs at home. As part of its advocacy and campaign for the rights and welfare of OFWs, the organization is engaging and conducting public education, country curriculum, returning OFWs, organizing and educating the families of migrants. Migrante is recognize by PH government as their partner on migrant concerns and use all avenues to raise the issues of migrants through radio programs maximization of phone patch.
Country reports and plans ensure that the UN Agenda 2030 be utilized as a framework and a tool to further organize, mobilize and empower the migrants until a new concept of migration that is based on human rights, choice of individual and accountability of all stakeholder is realized.