One Billion Rising of Migrant Workers in Hong Kong from Lauren Sevilla Faustino on Vimeo.
Women migrant domestic workers from Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Thailand and Bangladesh joined by foreign and local supporters held an amazing One Billion Rising (OBR) for Justice in Hong Kong event at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay yesterday, February 9th. The event highlighted the demand for justice for Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, from Indonesia and all migrant domestic workers who are victims of violence, exploitation, modern-day slavery, unfair labor practices and labor export policies and forced migration. Erwiana was brutally tortured and abused by her employers in Hong Kong and her case triggered a national and international outcry about the plight of migrant domestic workers all over the world. The flash mobs at Victoria Park is the first OBR for Justice event in the world ahead of all the thousands of events which will be taking place globally on the 14th of February and which will continue until April.
The event began with a press conference with the Hong Kong and international media in attendance. Speakers included Eni Lestari (spokesperson from the Justice for Erwiana committee), Monique Wilson (One Billion Rising global director), Rowena Dela Cruz (Gabriela HK), and Meilin Wu (HK Women Workers Association). There was also a moving and heartfelt message by Susie – a migrant domestic worker who came forward with her story of abuse.
Monique read a solidarity message by Eve which was received by the migrant domestic workers with deafening cheers and applause.
MESSAGE OF EVE TO THE MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS IN HONG KONG:
“The women of the world stand with migrant domestic workers here in Asia and throughout the world – and demand that their work be honoured and their bodies be respected. That their rights to fair, humane and dignified labor practices – and the right to work without sexual harassment, abuse and brutality are upheld throughout the world. And we RISE with them, and will continue to RISE with them, until these demands for justice are met”.
The main program began at 2pm, and included speeches by leaders of organisations making up the One Billion Rising for Justice Hong Kong and Justice for Erwiana coalitions. They included Isabel Chang (Mission for Migrant Workers), Meilin Wu (HK Women Workers Association), Rowena Dela Cruz (Gabriela HK), Eni Lestari (International Migrants Alliance/ IMA), Dolores Balladares (UNIFIL -MIGRANTE – HK), Sringatin (Justice for Erwiana and all Migrant Domestic Workers) and Monique Wilson (One Billion Rising). Solidarity messages were also expressed by various support groups including other One Billion Rising and V-Day organisers in HK. The program also included powerful cultural skits, poetry and speak outs by Indonesian migrant groups. The highlight of the event was the series of One Billion Rising dances that had been rehearsed by the various migrant groups for weeks every Sunday on their days off. The OBR global anthem “Break the Chain” was danced several times, led by over 40 team leaders from the different organisations. The OBR Philippine theme “Bangon” (“Rising”) was also danced several times, led by the Filipino migrant groups. A third dance – the Million Migrants dance, was also danced by the thousands of participants who braved the heavy rains for the 4 hour program – a true testament to their tenacity and strength and commitment. The dancing of the three different OBR dances displayed the solidarity amongst the international migrant groups and their supporters – and each time each dance was performed – the energy rose and soared. A moving moment was when Erwiana herself, talking from a hospital in Indonesia where she is still in critical condition – gave a message to all the women and men who were dancing that day in solidarity with her. The football pitch with thousands of risers fell silent – many in tears, as they listened to Erwiana. After which the dancing became even more urgent, passionate and hopeful.
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE HONG KONG – JUSTICE FOR ERWIANA AND ALL MIGRANT AND DOMESTIC WORKERS
was organized by: Asian Migrant’s Coordinating Body; Gabriela Hong Kong; Justice for Erwiana and all Migrant Domestic Workers Committee and Jaringan Buruh Migran Indonesia.
And Co-organized by:
Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (關注婦女性暴力協會) Association for the Advancement of Feminism (新婦女協進會) Association of Women with Disabilities Hong Kong (香港女障協進會) Consider the Trouble (重煩書店) HERfund (婦女動力基金) HK Women Workers Association (香港婦女勞工協會) JJJ Association (姐姐仔會) Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (香港天主教正義和平委員會) Network for Women in Politics (婦女參政網絡) Open Door (家•傭同行) Rainlily Slutwalk HK (香港蕩婦遊行) Socialist Action Transgender Resource Center (跨性別資源中心) Voices of Women Media