Bangladesh says migrants dev partners, not slaves

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan from Quito, Ecuador | Published: 01:19, Jan 23,2020


Bangladesh government has called upon the global leaders to protect the rights of migrant workers at the host countries and also asked them consider migrants as their development partners, not as slaves.

The call came from the Bangladesh delegation led by foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at a side event of the 12th Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit that was officially launched in Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday.

Speaking as chief guest at a side event titled ‘Policy Forum on Road to Implementing Global Compact on Migration’, the Abdul Momen urged the governments of the migrant host countries to be more sensitive about rights of the migrant workers.

‘Migrants are not slaves, they are the development partners. They have to be honoured and respected,’ the foreign minister said.

He urged the global civil society leaders, media and other stakeholders to create strong public opinion ti uphold the dignity of the migrants.

The side event was jointly organised by foreign ministry and CSOs for Global Commitment on Migration with support from British Council’ PROKAS programme and UKAID at Sheraton Quito.

Momen said, ‘Bangladesh does not consider migration just as another international issue. We consider migration as an integral path to development both for the host as well as the country of origin,’ he said.

The minister said that the cities and towns that are built up in the Middle East or the factories and services that are being rendered or innovations in USA, are largely the contributions of the migrant and expatriate workers.

‘The government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina has given highest importance to the process of migration. Of late, Bangladesh has been a source, transit and destination country for migration.’

Speaking as special guest, parliamentarians’ caucus on migration and development chair Israfil Alam MP said that Bangladeshi migrant workers were facing various exploitations in the destination countries.

He called for protection of Bangladeshi migrants from exploitation and ensuring their dignified jobs abroad. 

Migrant Forum in Asia regional coordinator William Gois appreciated Bangladesh government for taking steps on the process of GFMD and also expected important role in the implementation process of global compact on migration.

Through implementation of GCM, William Gois was keen to see that Bangladeshi expatriates in foreign lands were working as proud Bangladeshi migrants with dignity.

MFA chairperson Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna said that Bangladesh government should take steps to play due role for its embassies and high commissions abroad in implementing the GCM at destination countries.

The role of embassies in the destination counties was very import for protection of rights of their migrants, she said.

GFMD Civil Society Day’s chair Colin Rajah stressed the need for full implementation of the GCM at national level.

He highlighted the remarkable role of the Bangladeshi civil society organisations as they had cooperated with the government to implement the GCM.

‘This forum is a good example. We need to actually exemplify this forum,’ he said     

CGCM member and IID chief executive Syeed Ahamad moderated the session, which was also addressed by global migration expert and former GFMD chair Roula Hamati, British Council’ PROKAS team leader Gerry Fox, British Council’s Senior IBP manager and Gender and Social Inclusion adviser Shirin Lira,

WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque, Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam and Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra executive director Sumaiya Islam among others.

The GFMD summit, a space for constructive dialogue on migration and development is being held at the Metropolitan Convention Center, in the Bicentennial Park, in Quito and will continue till January 24.

According to Ecuador foreign ministry, the opening session was attended by senior officials from international organisations including Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organisation for Migration, and Asako Okai, secretary and director of the United Nations Development Program Bureau for Crisis.

Ecuadorian vice-president Otto Sonnenholzner, acting foreign minister Christian Espinosa, and GFMD ambassador and president Santiago Chavez chaired the opening forum.

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