UFCW Canada and Cathleen Caron, Executive Director of the Global Workers Justice Alliance, at the 4th World Social Forum in Quito, Ecuador for migrant worker rights.
UFCW Canada and Jose Gabriel Zevala, Director of Centro de Estudios y Apoyo al Desarollo Local (CEADEL), at the 4th World Social Forum in Quito, Ecuador for migrant worker rights.
UFCW Canada and Kyung-sook Lee, Coordinator of the Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea, at the 4th World Social Forum in Quito, Ecuador for migrant worker rights.
UFCW Canada Director of Human Rights, Equity & Diversity, Naveen Mehta, at the 4th World Social Forum in Quito, Ecuador for migrant worker rights.
UFCW Canada recently joined over 1,500 activists from around the world in Quito, Ecuador, to participate in the 4th World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM). The WSFM – which took place despite an attempted coup against the government of Rafael Correa – is an extension of the long running World Social Forum and is dedicated to advocating for migrant worker rights.
The conference provided a democratic platform for social movements, networks and NGOs, along with other civil society organizations, to stand together in opposition to neoliberal globalization and the restriction of granting citizenship, civil rights, political, economic, social and cultural rights to migrants and displaced refugees around the globe.
“The WSFM has consistently been a great opportunity to learn from, and share with, sisters and brothers from around the globe on the strategies to combat the exploitive nature inherent in current international migration regimes,” says Naveen Mehta, UFCW Canada Director of Human Rights, Equity and Diversity (HRED), who was invited to speak on a panel entitled “Temporary Worker Programs – The New Form of Exploitation.”
The panel was organized by long-time migrant rights activist Cathleen Caron, Executive Director of the Global Workers Justice Alliance, and Jose Gabriel Zevala, Director of Centro de Estudios y Apoyo al Desarollo Local (CEADEL). “Canada's temporary worker program is held up as a model for the world to, despite the tremendous level of abuse migrants continue to endure,” says Caron. “We are proud to stand with UFCW Canada. They are showing real leadership in the union movement globally by organizing temporary foreign workers and ensuring that the most vulnerable workers are protected.”
Plenary sessions featured prominent speakers including Bill Fletcher Jr, a long-time American labour, racial justice and international activist. Fletcher put forward a persuasive critical race analysis of migrant worker programs. “Migration is taking place at a phenomenal rate due to a series of factors including former colonial relationships that impoverished millions; wars; and environmental crises,” asserts Fletcher. “While capital is permitted to move across borders, nation-states have felt free restricting the movement of people. Right-wing populists are using migration as a means of distracting non-migrants from the real roots of the economic and environmental crises with which we must contend.”
Vol. X No. 49 • December 13, 2010