THE COMMISSION on Human Rights joins in solidarity with all migrant workers and members of their families in observance of International Migrants Day! Throughout most of human history, migration has been a powerful expression of an individual’s desire of self-improvement. It is a testament to the human embodiment of strength and desire for self-development.
From the Filipino seafarers stationed across the globe, to the medical practitioners involved in research and development of lifesaving medications, we witness the clear linkage between migration and development and the benefits of co-development between countries, that is, if migration is well-managed and the dignity of all migrant workers and their families are respected and protected.
Today, globalization and the democratization of information and technology have provided greater opportunities and challenges to migration. One of the vulnerable sectors hit hardest by the worldwide pandemic include overseas Filipino workers. As a result of lockdown measures and general economic downturn brought upon by the pandemic, some migrant workers were left jobless and face economic uncertainties. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration reported on Friday, 13 Nov. 2020 that it has assisted and returned to their hometowns some 300,000 OFWs who were repatriated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
As of 17 Dec. 2020, a total of 12,577 overseas Filipinos are confirmed to have contracted Covid-19. Of these, 3,602 are undergoing treatment, while 8,113 have recovered. The DFA reported a total of 862 fatalities.
The Commission in solidarity with all migrant workers, offers its condolences to bereaved migrant workers and members of their families who have lost loved ones in these trying times. CHR recognizes the right of all migrant workers and in ensuring the protection of overseas Filipinos from all forms of violence has launched an “E-Lawyering Program” open to all migrant workers which aims to offer immediate legal assistance to individuals facing abuse.
Complementing legal assistance to OFs, the CHR reporting portal against Gender-Based Violence allows individuals to report cases of Gender-Based Violence through the internet (https://www.gbvcovid.report/).
Both programs aim to ensure expedient response to cases of abuse and proper referral to appropriate government channels for action.
In the midst of rising of coronavirus cases, the Commission wishes to commend the initiatives taken by various government agencies, particularly the DFA, foreign service officers and members of diplomatic missions stationed all throughout the world helping our kabayans remain safe. We continue our appeal for the expansion of financial aid programs to help displaced migrant workers and their family members and we shall remain vigilant in upholding the rights of all migrant workers.
(Statement of the CHR on International Migrants Day, 19 Dec. 2020)