*79 days of international press and media attention on the Baoanan case and the issue of trafficking and modern-day slavery of Filipina domestic workers.
*70 days after Baja filed a motion to dismiss the case based on diplomatic immunity.
*57 days after the Government Accountability Office uncovered 42 similar cases of abuse of domestic workers by foreign diplomats with immunity.
STILL NO ACTION BY THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF MARICHU OR TO ENSURE JUSTICE.
SEPTEMBER 23 - OCTOBER 1: 7 DAYS OF ACTION TO WAIVE THE BAJAS' DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Justice for Marichu! End Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery of all Domestic Workers!
On September 23, Philippine President Gloria Macagapal-Arroyo and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo will be in New York City to deliver statements at the 63th United Nations General Assembly.
They need to hear the people's call: Waive the Bajas' diplomatic immunity! Accountability, not immunity!
From September 23 to October 1--the duration of the UN General Assembly debates--barrage the Philippine consular offices, the Philippine Mission to the UN, and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs by fax and email with the attached sample letter, demanding a waiver of Baja's diplomatic immunity. Justice must be pursued!
Since filing a civil lawsuit on June 24th, Marichu S. Baoanan has made public her experience of trafficking, forced labor, peonage and slavery in the New York City home of former Philippine Ambassador to the UN Lauro Baja (2003-2006), his wife Norma Baja, and their daughter Maria Elizabeth Facundo Baja, and the Baja-owned Labaire International Travel Inc. Marichu has led the way, along with DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association and allies, in a campaign demanding an End to Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery of Domestic Workers.
Marichu has highlighted the rampant abuse that domestic workers endure as employees of diplomats -- and as supported by a July 29th Government Accountability Office report. Women and workers who are contracted by diplomats around the world are survivors of severe forms of trafficking, abuse, enslavement and dehumanization, and most are afraid to come forward. Marichu's case is not an isolated incident. Marichu courageously speaks out about her case and joins the ranks of women im/migrant workers who are demanding accountability, justice, dignity and liberation.
STEP 1. Write a letter (see sample below)
To whom it may concern:
I am deeply concerned about the charges of human trafficking, forced labor, peonage, and racketeering of Marichu Suarez Baoanan by former UN Ambassador to the Philippines Lauro Baja, his wife Norma Baja, adult daughter Elizabeth Baja Facundo, and the Baja-owned Labaire Travel Agency.
I support the call to waive the Bajas' diplomatic immunity. I stand with Marichu in demanding that justice be pursued and given its due course. The Bajas should not be allowed to cloak themselves with diplomatic immunity while abusing their power and position as supposed defenders and servants of the people.
This is not a request; it is a mandate. If the Department of Foreign Affairs is to remain true to its stated vision of social justice, human rights and fundamental freedoms, then it must waive the Bajas' immunity. Those ideals cannot be realized without taking a stand on this issue.
Marichu is not alone, and her case is by no means isolated. There are unnumbered voices still unheard in this rampant abuse, human trafficking and slavery of Filipino workers around the globe. Because of Marichu's courage, they are beginning to come forward, and the Philippines more in the spotlight for its export of Filipino women workers, by the recent release of the Government Accountability Office Report on abuse of domestic workers by foreign diplomats and by other news reports internationally in the wake of Marichu's case.
The Department of Foreign Affairs must act.
I echo the demand for accountability NOT immunity! Waive the Bajas' diplomatic immunity!
[city, state, country]
STEP 2. Email, fax and/or send by mail between September 23-October 1 to the following (For a list of Philippine consulates:
For a list of Philippine missions to the United Nations:
President, Republic of the Philippines
Office of the Executive Secretary
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila NCR 1005
Fax No. (632) 736-1076
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
SECRETARY ALBERTO GATMAITAN ROMULO
Department of Foreign Affairs
2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
(632) 834-4000 / 834-3000
Fax No. (632) 832-0683
Email Address: email@example.com
In New York:
HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
Philippine Center Building
556 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Cecilia B. Rebong
Philippine Consulate General in New York
556 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10036 US
Tel: (212) 764-1330
Fax: (212) 382-1146
STEP 3. Send a copy of your letter to DAMAYAN (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email us to let us know you have taken action. You can also send hard copies of your letter to our office mailing address: Justice for Marichu Campaign, DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association, 410 West 40th, New York City, NY, USA, 10018.
STEP 4. Get more involved in the campaign and forward this action alert, all around the world, to your family, friends, classmates, co-workers and everyone you know who stand with Marichu and oppressed im/migrant domestic workers all around the world. Please visit our Justice for Marichu! End Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery of all Domestic Workers website (www.endtrafficking.blogspot.