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Momen seeks int’l community’s key role to ensure migrant workers’ rights

ZOOMBANGLA DESK: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today urged the international community to play a strong role in ensuring the rights of migrant workers, BSS reports.

He came up with call at the ‘Virtual Pre-GFMD 2020 National Consultation’ organised by Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development here.

Speaking as the chief guest, the foreign minister said during the trying times of COVID-19 pandemic, many of the migrant workers lost their jobs and were in great difficulties as they were not covered by the social safety nets of the countries of destination.

Moreover, he said, a large number of migrant workers were living or forced to live in crowded environment which was risky for transmission of the virus.

Momen said the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) should take more right-based approach and include protection measures in the migration policies aiming to ensure effective international governance of migration.

Noting that migrant workers need to be included in the social and judicial protection system of the countries of destination to address the gap, he said, stressing the need for ensuring migrants’ rights from the early stage of ethical recruitment to wage, health and job protection.

“For that to happen, international community should play key role through platforms like GFMD so that migrant workers are well covered by legal mechanisms in the host countries,” the foreign minister said.

He said GFMD can play a crucial and proactive role in effective implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), which is landmark initiative for migrants’ protection.

Momen said Bangladesh is the host of 1.1 million Rohingyas who were forcibly displaced from their ancestral home.

“Again, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climatic change. A large number of our population is being displaced due to erratic climate changes every year and we call them climate migrants,” he said.

He said as per varieties of estimate, if there is one metre rise in sea level, nearly 25 to 30 million people of the country will be uprooted from their sweet homes.

“Bangladesh cannot handle such a huge uprooted population alone. We need effective and proactive support from the international community,” the foreign minister added.

He said Bangladesh would like to see more tangible outcomes from this year’s GFMD so that people all over can understand the significance and benefit of having GFMD.

Currently, Momen said, it is in the high priority of the government of Bangladesh to skill prospective migrant workers and up skill and re-skill the returnee migrants for a successful migration journey through training and capacity building.

“Simultaneously, we are focused to take the advantage of technology for the welfare of the migrant workers at all stages of migration especially during their stay abroad.

“We would definitely like to be better equipped with the support of technology and for that we have introduced different apps,” he said.

He informed that the government has also been working to improve the data management by developing a more comprehensive database and connecting various ICT-based information services to provide assistance for the aspirant and returnee migrants and to ensure their protection.

“We need to highlight these aspects during the forthcoming summit and I request all to raise these issues at the roundtables and other discussions, for a meaningful workable outcome,” Momen said.

He said Bangladesh has been playing a leading role on migration as it considers migration as an integral path to development both for the country of origin and the country of destination.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the foreign minister said, Bangladesh played a key role in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the New York Declaration (NYD).

The government of Bangladesh has been working continuously in line with the recommendations of major international processes and is an active participant in various regional and sub-regional platforms, he said.

“We’ve included migration in our national policies like five-year plans and Perspective Plan due to its multidimensional socioeconomic aspects and strong relation with our foreign policy objectives,” he said.

Bangladesh will continue to promote safe, regular and orderly migration at domestic, regional and global level, Momen said, adding, “Due to the proactive measure of the government, we now have the highest amount of inward remittance.”

“I would like to draw your attention to a historical fact. Migrants are never a burden. They are the partners of development, engine of creativity and innovation. They create jobs and help the growth of the economy,” he added.

At the outset of his speech, the foreign minister paid respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, informing that currently Bangladesh is celebrating 100th anniversary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of its independence.

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