Sunday, November 15, 2009
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
On behalf of the International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS), I convey warmest greetings of solidarity to all the distinguished guests and participants in the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR).
We congratulate the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, IBON International, Migrante International, Migrante Europe, ATIK-Germany, Union of Working People of Greece, the Network of Migrants and Refugees Social Support and other entities for their successful cooperation in bringing about this assembly.
In accordance with its Charter, the ILPS resolutely and vigorously joins and supports all endeavors to uphold, defend and promote the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees along the line of anti-imperialist and democratic struggle. Thus, the ILPS, its Commission No.16 and its member-organizations concerned with migrants and refugees have consistently acted to bring about the founding of the IMA in Hongkong and the holding of the First IAMR in Manila last year and now the Second IAMR.
As in your previous assembly, you confront the government-led Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) meeting. You continue to expose migration as the result and furtherance of super-exploitation and underdevelopment in impoverished countries and you oppose the prettification of migration as an instrument of development under the auspices of the US-dictated policy of “neoliberal globalization”.
It is necessary to present the worsening situation of the migrant workers and refugees and to underscore the issues arising from their plight and just demand for the respect and promotion of their rights and welfare and for the protection of the most vulnerable among them, the undocumented migrant workers and refugees.
We welcome and endorse the theme of your assembly, “Uphold and advance the rights of migrants and refugees against exploitation, war and discriminatory laws, amidst the global economic crisis! Oppose “Fortress Europe” and the EU Return Directive! We are confident that with determination and hard work you can accomplish all the objectives of the assembly.
In bringing to the fore the urgent issues and challenges facing migrants and refugees all over the world, you must take the anti-imperialist and democratic line in laying bare the exploitativeness and oppressiveness of the world capitalist system and in setting forth your tasks.
Greed, plunder, deceit and violence characterize the entire history of capitalism and monopoly capitalism and are on the rampage with flimsy disguise in the current global economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. You must consider the impact of this crisis on migrants and on the women migrant workers.
The odds against them are tremendous and greater challenges are ahead because the crisis is sure to worsen further. The migrants, refugees and their advocates must be prepared for greater struggles ahead. The imperialist powers headed by the US have failed to solve the crisis but have instead aggravated it by using public money to bail out and raise the profits of the banks and the big corporations but not to revive the real economy and improve the employment situation. The recovery touted by the imperialists has been aptly called jobless recovery.
Labor rights, especially those of migrant labor, have been eroded and will continue to be eroded. Relations of migrants with unions and social movements are being assailed. The rights of refugees are being violated and their plight is worsening. The undocumented migrant workers are being criminalized in “Fortress Europe”. The monopoly bourgeoisie is unleashing their special operatives to whip up racism, discrimination, xenophobia and fascism. These evil trends are emboldened under the US-directed global war of terror. State repression and fascist attacks are on the rise.
The GFMD is a tool of monopoly capitalist deception. It is staged by the imperialist states and their puppet states to glorify the exploitation of migrant labor and the practice of modern slavery. These so-called receiving and sending states persist in peddling the myth of “free market” globalization and subject the working people and the unemployed intelligentsia to conditions that compel them to migrate, cheapen their labor and deprive them of their rights so as to permit their utmost exploitation.
The global phenomenon of large-scale displacement of people, migrant workers and refugees is a recurrence, extension and magnification of the dispossession and displacement of people in the primitive accumulation of capital in the history of capitalism but this time without the possibility of the underdeveloped countries developing into industrialized ones.
In previous decades, the earnings of the migrant workers have been used merely to cover trade deficits and support government and private consumption spending in the puppet states and fuel profit making by foreign and comprador corporations. In the current crisis, the migrant workers are worse off as they are being laid off, receive less real income, are further discriminated against and scapegoated for the crisis of the monopoly capitalist system and the rising unemployment and worsening conditions of the host people.
After benefiting for so long from the labor of migrants and refugees, the European Union is imposing a growing number of draconian laws and measures against them. The most notorious of these is the EU Return Directive. In this regard, you must challenge the claims of the EU to being an open and humanist society.
It is an urgent task for you to expand and strengthen the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) as a militant and progressive alliance of organizations of migrants and refugees, and advocates of migrants rights. You must struggle for the political empowerment of the migrants and refugees. They must participate in confronting and overcoming policies and practices inimical to them.
You must develop a broad international advocacy network that will continuously hold states and official multilateral bodies accountable for problems, issues and concerns affecting migrants and refugees. You must be critical of the policies and actions of the United Nations and other international official bodies that are contrary to or fail to uphold and advance the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees.
You must adopt and carry out a program of action and campaigns around general and specific issues on migrants rights and welfare. You must draw lessons from your experience and build on successful campaigns for the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees. You must develop an educational program of action to increase your capabilities to arouse, organize and mobilize migrants, refugees and advocates.
We stand with you and support you in defending and advancing the democratic and basic human rights of migrants and refugees, in opposing GFMD and the malevolent forces behind it, in fighting for national development against foreign exploitation, unemployment and poverty, in demanding the creation of jobs at home and the end of forced migration and in resisting the EU Return Directive and all other oppressive laws.
We are with you in calling for the revival of the real economy through full employment and better incomes of the working people and not through the mere bailout of the banks and giant corporations, in rallying the migrants, advocates and all working people against oppression and exploitation and in building the people's international solidarity against the imperialist system and its rapacious policy of “neoliberal globalization”.
We are confident that the plenary discussions, workshops, street mobilizations, bazaar, cultural solidarity activities, networking and most especially sharing of experiences and action plans during Second IAMR will be enlightening, instructive and enjoyable for the migrants, refugees and advocates in attendance. We hope that through the Second IAMR you will able to renew your resolve and reinvigorate yourselves to fight for the rights and welfare of the migrants and refugees. ###
Saturday, October 17, 2009
ATHENS TRAVEL ADVISORY 2009
(Please read this advisory fully and carefully for your own guidance. We advise you to print this out, preferably two copies and keep always with you)
Welcome to Athens, Greece, for the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees!
I Venue of the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees
Athens University of Economics and Business
76 Patission str (also known as 28 Oktubre street), GR 10434 Athens
The venue is just across Zorbas Hotel. Those staying at Athens Easy Access (AEA) Hostel, however, will have to walk about 15 minutes to the IAMR2 venue. Delegates will be given a guide on how to go to the venue.
If you have a map of Athens as reference, from the AEA Hostel, walk to Patission str (also known as 28 Oktubre street) and walk towards the direction of the Athens University of Economics and Business. Patission is a major street in Athens.
There will be side events (forum, concert, caucuses, mobilizations, etc.) during the Second IAMR2. The exact time and venues of these side events will be announced during the opening plenary of our assembly.
The members of the ICB of the IMA are scheduled to convene in a meeting on October 31 (from 10am-6pm), Saturday, in Athens. The venue will be the office of Class March in the center of Athens. All ICB members will go to the venue together from their hotel accompanied by the IAMR2 secretariat staff.
All ICB members are thus, requested to arrive in Athens on October 30. You are also requested to proceed to your hotel indicated below:
29 Eolou str. - 105 51 Athens, Greece
Tel: (+30) 210 32 13 175 - (+30) 210 32 42 940
Fax: (+30) 210 32 54 179
DIRECTION TO TEMPI HOTEL:
Using Syntagma Square as reference, you look for the Macdonald's fastfood. When you are already in front of Macdonald's, you walk to the street at the LEFT of Macdonald's. It is a big shopping street, so you wont miss it. Walk down further until you see Eolou Street. Turn right and you will see Tempi Hotel.
ONLY ICB MEMBERS ARE TO CHECK-IN AT TEMPI HOTEL FROM OCT. 30-31. Check-out is Oct. 31, before going to the ICB Meeting venue. The rooms (double rooms) for use of ICB members have already been paid for one night. The reservation is under the name MONDELO. Breakfast is not inclusive in this hotel.
II Lodging and Accommodations
Delegates will be billeted on sharing rooms (triple and quadruple) at any of the following hotels (we have confirmed group reservations under the name MONDELO):
1) ZORBAS HOTEL
10 Gkyilfordou Street
Athens, 10434 Greece
Web site: www.zorbashotel.com
FROM THE AIRPORT:
BY TAXI: Catch a taxi to Victoria Square (10 Gkylfordou st.). It should cost you approximately 35 euro. Flagdown in a taxi = 2,50 euro.
BY BUS: The cheaper alternative! After getting your luggage inside the airport, exit at Gate 5. There you will see buses (X95) going to Syntagma Square/Plaza (the end destination). The bus ticket costs about 3 euro. Buy the ticket at the bus counter, and upon entering the bus, stamp your ticket in the orange machines inside the bus.
Travel time by bus from the international airport to Syntagma is approximately 1 hour. The bus from the airport stops at Syntagma Square/Plaza – one of Athen's main plazas. From where you got off from the bus (Othonos street), walk towards Amalias Avenue/street – the street where you will see the big Greek Parliament building (you won't miss it because you will see two Greek soldiers in traditional Greek military attire standing guard infront). Go to the right side of the Parliament building where you will see the bus stop. Buy first a bus ticket. It costs only 1 euro (the bus ticket is valid for one hour from the time you stamp it in the orange machines inside buses – you only stamp a bus ticket once). Take Bus No. 11. Get off at the bus stop in front of the Athens University of Economics and Business (76 Patission street or also known as 28 Oktubre street). Patission is a big street. To know where you have to get off, as the bus rides through Patission, you will pass by the big campus of the Polytechnic University of Athens, and then beside it the National Archeological Museum, then the bus will pass along a big intersection called Alexandras Avenue. As soon as you see this intersection, press the STOP button, and get off where the bus stops (in front of the Athens University of Economics and Business).
Cross to the other side of the street from where you got off from the bus. Walk back to the direction of the large intersection (Alexandras Avenue). Walk past Heyden street, then you will see Gkylfordou street. Turn right and you will immediately see ZORBAS HOTEL.
BY METRO: You can also get a Metro (subway) from the Athens International Airport (E. Venizelos Airport). Ask for direction going to the Metro at Athens International Airport. The one-way ticket going to Syntagma Square/Plaza (this must be your destination from the airport) is about 6 euro per person. Buy a ticket first before boarding the Metro. Travel time from the airport to Syntagma Square/Plaza is approximately 45 minutes.
Get off at Syntagma Square/Plaza. You have to exit the Metro station. When you are already at the Plaza, look for the big Parliament building (as described above). Go to the right side of that building where you will see the bus stops. Take Bus No. 11, and get off at the bus stop in front of the Athens University of Economics and Business (read directions above to proceed to Zorbas Hotel).
2) ATHENS EASY ACCESS HOSTEL
26 Satovriandou street - Omonia
Athens 10432 Greece
FROM THE AIRPORT:
(Follow same direction as above to go to Syntagma Square)
FROM SYNTAGMA going to Athens Easy Access Hostel:
From the Athens International Airport, get a Metro (subway) to Syntagma Square (buy first a one-way ticket direction Omonia Square). Get off at Syntagma. Then change line going to Omonia Square (red Metro line direction Aghios Antonios). You only have to change platform. Get off at Omonia Square. Upon exiting the Omonia Square Metro, look for Triti Septembriou street (the landmark here is the Hondos Center, a big shopping mall, Athens Easy Access is behind this shopping mall). Walk further to Septembriou street (from Omonia Square) until you reach Satovriandou street on your left. Then look for Athens Easy Access Hostel (Satovriandou 26).
*All accommodations made or booked OUTSIDE of the IAMR2 assembly (Oct. 31-Nov. 5), will have to be shouldered by delegates, and are not inclusive in the 150 euro registration fee.
III Registration Fee/Meals
The registration fee for the Second IAMR is 150 euro. It will cover the conference materials, lunch and snacks from Nov. 1-4, and lodging. Breakfast and dinner are not inclusive in the registration fee. Food stubs will be distributed upon registration.
Participants are advised to take their own breakfast and dinner. There are many cheap snack bars, fast food and restaurants in Athens, and nearby the university venue. Food and drinks are relatively cheap in Athens compared to northern European cities. Average meal costs 7,50 euro.
Breakfast at the Athens Easy Access Hostel is inclusive, for those delegates staying in this hostel.
Officially, the check-in/check-out time for the hostels is between 1100 – 1200 hours. However, the hostels have been advised that IAMR2 delegates would be arriving anytime on Oct. 31.
1) Two pieces of ‘souvlaki’ (popular Greek barbecue) cost only 3,00 euro and comes with bread, plus a regular salad (2,50) is already a complete cheap Greek meal.
ALL DELEGATES MUST PROCEED TO ZORBAS HOTEL upon arrival at the Athens International Airport (E. Venizelos airport) for registration and billeting. The IAMR2 Secretariat will meet you at the reception.
Maps of the City of Athens will be provided free to all delegates.
Below are the contact information of the members of the secretariat, steering committee and other pertinent numbers:
Grace Punongbayan - +31-6-33056411 (Netherlands mobile number)
Rio Mondelo - +31-6-22777835 (Netherlands mobile number)
Finalis Errikos (Athens, Greece) – (Union of Working People office landline - +302106441745), Mobile: +306972738059
Tom Orlanes - +306909826409 (Greek mobile number)
If you need to call the IAMR secretariat staff urgently, and you cannot contact them in their mobile numbers, please call the ZORBAS Hotel (refer to their number above). The IAMR2 secretariat staff will be on stand-by at the reception whole day of Oct. 31.
IV Visa and Passport Requirements
Visa is Required by all, EXCEPT the following:
1. Nationals of EU countries, Australia, Canada, Japan and US for a period of up to 3 months;
Note: The above list is subject to change at short notice; please check with the Consulate or Consular section at Embassy before traveling.
Passport valid for 6 months required by all except:
1.EU nationals with a valid national ID card and with sufficient funds for their length of stay;
2.Nationals of Monaco and Switzerland with valid national ID cards.
1) Please make sure to have with you a copy of your round trip ticket, original copy of the invitation (for those who applied for visa please bring a copy of the invitation you submitted to the Greek embassy), and the IAMR program.
2) For safety reasons, make several photocopies of your passport and/or ID, and put them separately in your wallet, bag or luggage – this is to make sure that you have an identification paper with you always (in case the Police randomly checks), and in case you lose your passport, you can easily show the authorities the details on your passport
3) Everyone is asked to always carry an ID with them (a passport or a copy of it is the best ID), wherever you go in Athens, or any place in Europe.
V Telephones in Greece
Greece dial 00 + 30 (country code) + telephone number
Outside calls made from hotel rooms will be charged to delegates’ personal accounts and will be paid upon check out.
24-hour Internet cafes can be found in the vicinity of the hotel. Internet surfing rates are:
30 minutes = 1 euro, 1 hour = 2 euro
Average Weather in Athens for November
Sunlight 5 = hours a day, Coldest daily temperature = 7 Celsius, Warmest daily temperature =17 Celsius, Coldest Recorded November temperature = -2 Celsius, Warmest Recorded November temperature = 27 Celsius, Morning Humidity = 68 percent, Evening Humidity = 54 percent, Rain = 89 mm a day, Wet days for November = 12 days
Everyone is advised to bring sweaters and jackets (for the evenings) and raincoats or umbrella for protection from the rain. You may also consult the Internet for updates on the weather in Athens.
Greek currency is the Euro. If you are coming from a non-Euro country, bring your money in US dollars for easier conversion. Foreign exchange is available everywhere in the city.
Banks and ATMs are readily available everywhere. Banks are open from 9am to 3pm while ATMs are available 24 hours.
There are several shopping areas in the city of Athens. The major shopping street can be found in the Syntagma area, where the world-famous Acropolis is just literally a stone's throw away. The Plaka area is a tourist haven for souvenirs. Apart from the usual commercial shopping stores, you can also find the famous Athens flea market and semi-precious stones district, in this area. The big Athens wet market can be found along Athinas avenue (walking distance from Syntagma)
Small grocery stores are open from 10am to 8pm. There are no convenient stores in Athens (open 24 hours).
Getting around the City:
All areas of Athens are easily accessible via public transport (normal buses, trolley buses and Metro). A transport ticket is valid for one hour of travel upon being stamped. It can be bought at any cigarette or news stand for 1 euro. Upon entering a bus or Metro, you must first stamp your ticket in the stamping machines (orange color). You only stamp once until the validity of your ticket expires.
XI Safety and Security
For your own safety, inform a member of the IAMR2 secretariat of your whereabouts, if you are not within the premises of the IAMR2 venue or if you are going out at night during the duration of the assembly.
The City of Athens is basically a safe city. But like other big cities, it has its share of security problems. When touring the city it is best to be in a pair or group of three or more. Pickpockets could be anywhere.
When walking with a handbag, always wear it over your shoulder, to prevent snatchers from grabbing it (especially in some areas in Athens). As much as possible, try to avoid the OMONIA SQUARE area, especially in the evening. There are many reported snatchings in the area, and public disturbance commonly occur. This is also a hangout for drug addicts, drug dealers and prostitutes. Try to avoid small streets around this area.
1) Always carry an ID with you, or a copy of your passport.
Greek is the main language in Greece. However, many of the local residents can converse in English. There are big communities of Albanians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Bangledeshis in Athens.
Yes = nai (neh)
No = ochie (o-chee)
Please = parakalo
Thank you = efcharisto (ef-cha-ree-sto)
Welcome = parakalo
OK/Alright = entaxie (en-dak-zee)
Excuse me = me synchoreite (me seen-cho-ree-teh)
Hello = geia sas (yeea sas)
Goodbye = antio (an-dee-o)
Good Morning = kalimera (ka-lee-me-ra)
Good Night = kalinychta (ka-lee-neech-ta)
General electric voltage is 220. European plugs are used. Adaptors can be bought in electric shops.
XIV Medical Services
There are several public and private hospitals and clinics in Athens and medicines are available in pharmacies. It is strongly advisable that you have a medical insurance when you travel.
Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam
This is just an initial notice, for the information of everyone. The official venue of our Second IAMR in Athens, Greece from Nov. 1-5, 2009 will be at:
|Workshop No. 1 |
Impact of the Global Crisis on Migrants and Refugees and People's Responses
In Charge: Migrante International – Rina Anastacio/Garry Martinez (email@example.com/
Workshop No. 2
Situation of Women Migrant Workers
In Charge: APMM – Cynthia CR Abdon
Workshop No. 3
The Precarization of Labor, especially Migrant Labor and Relations with Unions and the Social Movement
In Charge: ATIK – Ufuk Berdan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Workshop No. 4
State Repression of Migrants, Denial of Right to Asylum, and The Attacks on Political Refugees under the so-called “war on terror”
Workshop No. 5
The Urgent Issues of the Undocumented, their Criminalization and “Fortress Europe”
In Charge: APMM – Gi Estrada (email@example.com)
Workshop No. 6
Fighting Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Fascism
In Charge: ATIK – Ufuk Berdan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Workshop No. 7
Political Empowerment and Participation for Sucessive Generations of Migrants and Confronting Policies and Problems in Integration
In Charge: ATIK – Ufuk Berdan (email@example.com)
Workshop No. 8
Engaging the UN and other International Bodies in Upholding and Advancing the Rights and Welfare of Migrants and Refugees
In Charge: Migrante Europe – Rev. Cesar Taguba (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Workshop No. 9
Drawing Lessons from Campaigns on Rights, Welfare and Resistance, and Developing an Education Campaign on Arousing, Organizing and Mobilizing Migrants, Refugees and Advocates
Monday, October 5, 2009
1-4 Kasım, 2009
Değerli göçmenler, mülteciler, onların savunucuları ve dostları,
Sizleri bir kez daha, 1-4 Kasım 2009 tarihinde Atinada gerçekleşecek olan 2. Göçmenler ve Mülteciler Enternasyonal Kurultayına davet ediyoruz. Kurultayımız, ilki Ekim 2008 Manila, Filipinler de olduğu gibi militan bir gelenekle gerçekleştirilmelidir.
Bizim kurultayımız hükümetler tarafından öncülük edilen ve 4-5 Kasım 2009 tarihinde Atina da üçüncüsü gerçekleştirilecek olan Göçmenlik ve Kalkinma üzerine Global Foruma alternatif olmalıdır.
2. Kurultaydaki amaçlarımız
1) Özellikle Büyük Bunalım döneminden sonra yaşanan en büyük kriz ile yüzleştiğimiz bir dönemde Göçmenler ve mültecilerin yaşadığı sorunları gündeme getirmek ve bu noktada ilerici bir pozisyonda yer almak,
2) Göçmenlik ve Gelişim üzerine Global Forumun gindeminde yer alan önemli konular üzerinde tartışmak, analizler yapmak ve bu konularda dogru bir pozisyonda yer almak ve bunun platformlarını yaratmak,
3) Göçmenlere ve mültecilere karşı giderek artan bir şekilde haklarını hiçe sayan kanun ve önlemleri uygulamaya koyan AB’ nin açık ve insancıl bir toplum olma iddiasını teşhir etmek.
4) Enternasyonal Göçmenler Birliğini (IMA) göçmen ve mültecilerin haklarını savunan, militan ve ilerici bir kurum olarak güçlendirmek ve genişletemek.
5) Göçmen ve mültecilerin hakları konusunda uluslararası alanda geniş bir network oluşturarak devletler ve çeşitli kurumlarla sürekli bağlantı içinde olmak.
6) Göçmen ve mültecilerin hakları ve refahı noktasında genel veya spesifik konular özgülünde kampanyalar ve hareket planları oluşturmak,
Kurultayın teması şu şekilde olacaktır; Global Ekonomik Kriz Ortamında Sömürü, Savaş ve Ayrımcı Yasalara Karşı Göçmenlerin ve Mültecilerin Haklarına Sahip Çık ve Daha İleri Taşı. Avrupa Kalesi’ne ve AB Geri Dönüş Direktifine Karşı Çık!
İlkinde olduğu gibi Atinada gerçekleşecek bu kurultayımızda çeşitli kurumların ortak çabası ile hazırlanmaktadır. Bu kurumlar Enternasyonal Göçmenler Birliği(IMA), Asya Pasifik Göçmenler Heyeti, IBON Uluslararsı, Sınıf Yürüyüşü(Yunanistan), Mıgrante Avrupa and ATİK Almanya. IMA, yüzden fazla göçmen işçi, mülteci ve yerinden edilmiş halkların örgütlülüğünün ilk defa bir araya geldiği bir birlikteliktir.
Enternasyonal kurultayımız geniş katılımlı ve panel tarzı tartışmaları, calışma atölyelerini, yönetim kurulu toplantılarını, dayanışma- kültür gecelerini ve kitle eylemliliklerini kapsayacaktır.
Barınma, konferans materyalleri, yiyecek ve eylemlilik masraflarına katkı amaçlı her katılımcıdan 150 Euro kayıt ücreti alınacaktır.
GMEK Atina sekreterliği sizlere en kısa zamanda daha ayrıntılı bilgi gönderecktir. Katılım formu ve diğer bilgiler için IAMR2 wesitesini kulllanabilirsiniz.
Sizleri Kasım da Atina, Yunanistan da görmeyi dört gözle bekliyoruz.
Sekreterlik, IAMR Atina 2009