MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has appealed for greater protection of the rights of migrants at the World Conference on Racism in Geneva, Switzerland.
Severo Catura, executive director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, said the raging global economic crisis has made migrants vulnerable and most likely “to lose jobs and be exposed to social exclusion, exploitation and xenophobia.”
“Migrants have become even more vulnerable in this global era, and thus need greater protection of their human rights as well as protection from racism and xenophobia,” Catura said.
Catura also urged the global community to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ICPRMW) and members of their families.
The Philippines is among the 37 signatories of the ICPRMW. Most of the signatories are countries of origin of migrants.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said countries that host most of the migrants should sign the treaty to make it more effective.
The DFA said the Philippine delegation to Geneva, led by Permanent Representative Erlinda Basilio, immensely contributed to the so-called outcome document on the Durban Review Conference.
Many paragraphs in the outcome document were inputs from the Philippine delegation, according to the DFA.
“These paragraphs focus on the need to enhance international cooperation in order to eradicate trafficking and promote a human rights-based approach in identifying and providing assistance and treatment to victims,” the DFA said.
“The Philippines likewise proposed language on the importance of addressing poverty and underdevelopment which exacerbate differences between peoples,” it added.
Catura told the conference participants that the Philippines has always been active in the fight against racism, citing the 1982 Manila Declaration Against Apartheid.
“It was in this vein that the Philippines supported the convening of the 2001 Durban conference on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as its 2009 conference being held in Geneva,” Catura said.
Meanwhile, the outcome document on the Geneva Conference was adopted by consensus last April 21.
Catura said the adoption of the outcome document was a collective and timely achievement in the fight against racism.
“It showed that when there is the requisite political will, we, the members and observers of the United Nations, can overcome our differences and make a difference in the lives of the victims of racism,” Catura said. –Jose Rodel Clapano, Philippine Star