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Migrant Workers Day Brazil: Letter from Brazilian Migrant Workers Demanding Universal Citizenship and Human Rights

Considering that currently there are about 200 million immigrants in the world, and that from these, 3 millions Brazilians live abroad; and, considering that millions come from faraway places among them Asians, Europeans, Latin-Americans, who have chosen to live today in Brazil.

Considering that important migrant movements always preceded historic changes in humanity and that the presence of people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds always contributes decisively to progress in societies towards more humanitarian reality.

Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal, and that any person can invoke these rights regardless of race, color of the skin, or origin.

Considering that the Federal Constitution (of Brazil) guarantees that we are all equal before the law, without distinction of any kind guaranteeing both to Brazilians and foreigners who reside in this country the rights to freedom, equality, safety and property, even more, that Brazil must promote the good for all without prejudice of origin, race, sex, color of the skin, age or any source of discrimination.

Invoking the most recent statement signed by all the presidents of Latin American countries who met in Montevideo, Uruguay, where they state that poverty, social inequality, unemployment, lack of respect for labor rights, racial discrimination and the concentration of wealth constitute the reasons for underdevelopment and increased migration (of workers) out of necessity and not as a free option. Thus, it emerges a vicious cycle that makes it impossible for the development of many countries widening the economic and social gap among our countries.

Because we are convinced that all people are created equal before the law and have equal rights and equal protection against any source of discrimination.

WE DENOUNCE:

1) Migration is a process that has its origin in globalization. It is the result of an economic, social and political situation related directly with the evil effects of the neo-liberal capitalist model imposed upon the world, which is an obstacle for human development.

2) The actions of transnational corporations and foreign debt result in loss of sovereignty, nutritional deficiencies and indiscriminated exploitation of our countries' natural resources.

3) Deportations, fortification of borders with walls, military patrols, are added to the existence of mafias and trafficking of people for sexual exploitation and slave labor, resulting in treating immigrants as mere exchange value.

WE AFFIRM

1) That we, immigrants, are human beings. We have feelings. We cannot be treated as merchandise. It is necessary as a just and humane measure to be guaranteed the right of citizenship. We love the societies we live in and we expect to be recognized as members of it.

2) [Economic] development must include all people, migrants and the poor in all continents.

3) Integration must be implemented based on the values of equality, participation, plurality, solidarity and recognition for the diversity of our nations of origin.

WE DEMAND

1) That immigration policies take into consideration human rights.

2) A universal citizenship to guarantee that migrants can obtain all rights independently of their administrative or legal situation. Furthermore, undocumented migrants should not be criminalized.

3) The ratification of the U.N. Convention for the Protection of Rights for Migrant Workers and their Family.

4) To widen international protection for people who are victims of any form of persecution.

5) Urgent ratification of the Treaty of Free Residency, thus allowing free circulation of people in the countries that are members of MERCOSUR.

6) We should be able to exercise citizenship allowing us the right to vote and to be elected.

7) A new Immigration Law, just and with solidarity, based on the universal principles of human rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of Brazil.

8) General amnesty for all migrants.

We are conscious that we migrants are at the same time a denunciation for a society that expelled us, and annunciation for another urgent, necessary and possible world.

We want to contribute in the building of a society based not in competition but in solidarity; not in the concentration of goods but in sharing; not in the closing of borders but in universal citizenship. In the end, we want a world built not upon uncontrolled consumerism, but on societies that can sustain themselves with room for a dignified life for all.

- Pastoral Service for Migrant Workers
- Immigrant Communities with Residence in Brazil

December 17, 2006
www.movimientos.org