Friday, July 28, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
The conflict, which was prompted by the capture of three Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hezbollah, is truly deplorable especially with the unjust and disproportionate reaction of the Israeli authorities who bombarded
If the crisis in Lebanon continues, I am afraid that it will escalate into an international war. As of this moment, the Arab countries are agitated. They can not wait in the sidelines as hundreds of their brothers, sisters and children are being slaughtered everyday. Already, thousands of Muslims across the world are holding protest actions calling for a pan-Arab action against Israel. If they do strike against Israel, the US will surely take a stand and defend the Jewish state. An immediate ceasefire is clearly the best option right now.
Below is a statement I wrote for Migrant Forum in Asia on this crisis:
MFA calls for ceasefire in
; chides Asian governments for not acting fast on repatriating their citizens Lebanon
Migrant Forum in
Asia, a regional network of more than 260 member-organisations, expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. We lament the escalating violence committed by the Israeli government and the armed militias of Hezbollah and Hamas against the civilian population of and Lebanon including the thousands of Asian migrant workers in those countries. Israel
MFA condemns in the strongest terms the actions of
, Hezbollah and Hamas. Terrorism, in any kind and form, is barbaric, heinous and completely unacceptable. The potential humanitarian crisis is catastrophic if the crisis escalates further. The United Nations (UN) believes that more than 500,000 Lebanese are now internally displaced and scattered in various refugee camps along the borders of Israel . All freedom-loving governments and organisations must act now to stop this nonsensical show of brute of might. MFA calls on the UN to call for an immediate ceasefire and show the whole world that it will not be intimidated by a superpower whose ‘low-key’ response to the crisis is fuelling Lebanon ’s frenzied and vicious attacks on its neighbours. Continuing apathy and inaction of the international community give Israel the ‘diplomatic license’ to continue its destruction of Israel . The UN, through the Security Council, must not allow this to go on. It should, likewise, reinforce security in the region by deploying a multinational peacekeeping force along the Israeli and Lebanese border. It must push for sanctions for all those who are responsible for this conflict. Lebanon
The collective punishment of the people of
by Lebanon affects the more than 200,000 migrant workers from Israel , the Sri Lanka , Philippines , India and from countries in the Northern African region. Thousands of migrant workers who wish to return to their respective countries are now trapped in the deadly pit that is Bangladesh . We are worried over reports that many domestic migrant workers are left behind by their employers who also took their passports. Many of them are left with no money, food and shelter. We must bear in mind that these migrant workers helped in the reconstruction of Lebanon after the devastating civil war years ago. They surely do not deserve to be treated as commodities only to be abandoned when their services are no longer necessary. Lebanon
We are also appalled by the slow response of the governments of migrant sending countries to the plight of their people. We cannot understand the delay in the immediate evacuation of those who are willing to leave. After propping up their economies with billions of dollars in remittances the least these countries can do is to ensure the safety of their nationals during crisis such as this. Conflicts do happen and the Asian governments should have seen this one and established an early warning mechanism that will help the migrant workers. As in the 1990 Gulf War and US-led occupation of
, the sending countries seem to be always at a lost on what to do to evacuate their citizens. While it is true that some of the sending countries lack financial resources, there are charitable institutions that can be tapped for assistance such as the International Organization for Migration and the International Red Cross and Crescent. Iraq
This recent conflict underscores the need for a quick-response mechanism to protect the rights and livelihoods of migrant workers. MFA recommends that relevant international organisations such as the IOM, Red Cross, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to work with the governments of sending countries and formulate measures that will ensure that the migrant workers are protected from harm and can be evacuated immediately during periods of upheavals and conflicts.