No IAMR, but IMA – a counter-event to the GFMD in Geneva

Plenty of acronyms, I know, but what this means, is: Unlike the last 3 years, this coming week in Geneva no International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) will be held during the GFMD. Instead, the International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) will organize an event in strong opposition to the GFMD on November 30/December 1. The acronym may be different but the message is coherent with previous events:

“Let the Genuine Voices of Migrants and Refugees Echo in Geneva! No to the GFMD!”.

In addition, the IMA has been the main driving force behind the previous IAMR meetings as well, so there is certainly a continuity. The IMA was founded in Hong Kong in June 2008 and is an international alliance “composed of progressive migrant and refugee organizations of different nationalities”.

The network consists currently of 70 regular member organizations and 32 associate members from the Asia-Pacific, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. In accordance with the slogan above, the IMA claims that its a genuine grassroots organisation, while other alliances suffer from “NGOism”. Its chairperson is Eni Lestari, an Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong (pictured giving a speech to the IAMR in 2009 in Athens).

(for a background on the different strategies, see previous posts in this blog and )

The aim of the two days of deliberation and events is the “launching of an internationally- coordinated campaign on the millions of undocumented/irregular migrants threatened by loss of jobs and deportations, an urgent and important issue that the GFMD ignores”.

While the plight of “Migrants moving or working in irregular circumstances” is actually one of the four core themes of the Civil Society Days (CSD) components, the IMA/IAMR stance is that the GFMD has no legitimacy, since they see it as  “a neo-liberal tool to further exploit the migrants and make them instruments for state and international financial institutions-sponsored anti-people and pro-corporate development schemes”.

The program consists of workshops (not sure if these are open to registration, for information check the website listed below), and two main events:

The first is a Consultation Meeting on the Campaign to Protect and Uphold Rights of Undocumented: Focus on Criminalization/Deportation and Regularization, that takes place Wednesday, November 30, 8:00 – 21:00 hrs, at Maisons des Associations, Salle Zazi Sadou.

The second event is a “NO TO GFMD demonstration/mobile picket  to further expose and oppose the GFMD and for solidarity with the undocumented/irregular migrants”, that takes places December 1:  16:00 – 19:00 hrs at “The Chair”, a square in front og the Palais des Nations.

For further information on this event, see:


About Dr. Stefan Rother

Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute at the University of Freiburg -- Freelance journalist -- You can find my CV at the links below:
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