BWI condemns the Bureau of Immigration refusal of entry of Dr. Rajeev Sharma, BWI Asia Pacific Policy Officer on 15th April. He was scheduled to attend the BWI Global Policy Training Workshop in Manila. This unwarranted decision stemmed from his previous participation in a peaceful collective action organised by Global Union Federations to promote decent work in ADB-funded projects at the 2012 ADB Annual Governors’ Meeting.
“We deplore the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) decision to refuse Dr. Sharma to participate in our global event in Manila despite being issued a clearance letter from the BI to the Department of Labour and Employment, that he was not in the black list order (BLO),” said Apolinar Z. Tolentino, Jr., BWI Asia Pacific Regional Representative.
Dr. Sharma had previously been denied entry to the Philippines in 2014 to attend BWI official events in Manila.
“Through the coordinated efforts of Global Union Federations, the Department of Labour and Employment has sought the BI to lift the BLO against all trade union leaders involved in the 2012 legal assembly. However, despite having with him the official letter from BI indicating that he has no record of BLO the Immigration Officer still denied Dr. Sharma’s entry,” added Mr. Tolentino.
On the same day Dr. Sharma was refused entry another similar surprising deportation took place in Cebu International Airport. Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary of the Party of European Socialists, who was expected to attend AKABAYAN Congress was barred of entry. Mr. Filibeck participated last year in a fact-finding mission into extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.
The BWI is concerned that the government is now using internationally guaranteed human and trade union rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression to deny entry of trade union leaders and human rights defenders into the country.
“We call upon President Duterte to rectify this apparent evolving policy of deporting trade union leaders and political activists exercising universal rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression as well as promoting social justice by enjoining the Bureau of Immigration to delist all trade union leaders in the BLO list,” Mr. Tolentino concluded.