Expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry never took the initiative to ensure safe and orderly migration of workers from Bangladesh as required by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, better known as GCM.
Geneva based International Organization for Migration, in short IOM, provides secretarial service to the GCM.
On behalf of Bangladesh, foreign ministry interacted with the GCM at the international level in last two years keeping the EWOE Ministry out of the negotiations, EWOE Ministry officials told New Age.
Participating in the 2016 UN General Assembly session heads of state and government for the first time discussed the migration issue and agreed to launch the global compact.
The GCM is expected to be adopted at the coming meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, in short GFMD, in Marrakesh, Morocco in December.
Replying to a question, EWOE Ministry joint secretary for mission and welfare Nasreen Jahan told New Age on Monday, ‘Nobody in our ministry currently handles GCM issues as the issues are exclusively handled by the ministry of foreign affairs.’
Migration rights campaigners said that absence of EWOE ministry from the GCM process reflected sheer negligence of the government to protect the rights of the migrant workers as this ministry was responsible for ensuring safe and orderly migration.
According to IOM, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is expected to be the first intergovernmental agreement, negotiated, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
‘It presents a significant opportunity to improve the governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.’
The process to develop this Global Compact for Migration started in April 2017. The UN General Assembly will then hold an intergovernmental conference on international migration in December 2018 with a view to adopting the Global Compact.
Experts called for involving the EWOE Ministry and departments under it responsible to implement necessary policies and laws to protect rights of the migrant workers at home and abroad.
Dhaka University professor of political science Tasneem Siddiqui said that the foreign affairs ministry had played an important role in the IOM’s discussion process relating to the global compact for migration.
‘It is now high time to involve the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry with the process,’ she said.
‘Otherwise, the country’s migrant workers would stand to lose in many ways ,’ said Tasneem, also founding chair of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the University of Dhaka.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam demanded the implementation of working together approach as desired by the Prime Minister Office to ensure coordination between ministries and departments of the government.
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