Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) started its journey in 2007. It is a government-led non-binding process. All member countries of UN can participate in the GFMD summit. Migration sector, which plays an important role in terms of global development, is elaborately discussed at the summit. The civil society puts forward a set of recommendations to improve rights of migrants. As GFMD is a non-binding process, the government implements the recommendations upon their wish. The upcoming summit would be held in Turkey. Syed Saiful Haque, chairman of Warbe Development Foundation, has been working over a decade with a view to establishing rights of migrants. Haque is attending the upcoming summit as one of the members of Bangladesh civil society delegation. He recently talked to migrationnewsbd.com ahead of upcoming GFMD summit to be held in Turkey on October 14-16.
Rabiul Islam, Editor of migrationnewsbd.com, a specialized news-portal, took an interview.
Migrationnewsbd.com: How do you view the role of GFMD?
Syed Saiful Haque: GFMD is a government-led non-binding process. Migration issues are elaborately discussed at the summit. Migrants have been playing very important role in the receiving countries as well as their countries of origin. In many ways, the migrants are not treated with dignity in the receiving countries while they also not cared properly in their countries of origin. All mal practices including deprivation and discrimination were discussed at the GFMD summit meeting. The civil society puts forwards a set of recommendations to improve the condition of migrants. As GFMD is a non-binding process, the individual government is not bound to implement it.
In 2013, we put forward a five year 8-point action plan. Many governments have been taking actions in line with this plan.
In 2014, the focus was on the post-2015 development goal. How the migration issues could be included in Sustainable Development Goal. Migration has been given importance in SDG. The migration issue has been included among the five goals of SDG. A pressure is created, the governments policy measures.
Migrationnewsbd.com: What would be the main role of civil society in the upcoming GFMD summit meeting in Turkey from October 14?
Syed Saiful Haque: More than 140 countries will attend the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit Meeting in Istanbul, in the wake of the adoption of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda and amidst heightened global attention on migrants’ plight.
The main demand of the civil society would be zero migration cost. We want that the migrants would join work at the destination countries without spending any money.
Moreover, we will raise our voice to ensure equal rights of migrants. We will also raise our voice in favour of portability of benefits to their countries of origin. For example, a migrant does business or work in the labour recipient countries. In many cases, it is found that the migrants cannot bring their hard-earn money home. Both labour receiving and sending countries have to carry out legal reforms.
Migrationnewsbd.com: The Asian countries has recently faced serious problem for irregular migration. Will you discuss this issue?
Syed Saiful Haque: We will definitely discuss the issue in the upcoming GFMD summit. The root causes of irregular migration have to be identified. Receiving, transit and sending countries have to work jointly to stop it. There are huge demands in Malaysia but the migrant could not go through legal channel as the government to government system is not functioning properly. In this regard, bilateral initiative has to be taken.
Migrationnewsbd.com: Labour rights are not ensured in many gulf countries. Can GFMD do anything in this regard?
Syed Saiful Haque: GFMD does not target any individual country. On the contrary, it handles globally. Still you will notice that Bahrain, UAE and Qatar have already initiated to carry out reforms in their labour law following advocacy by various rights groups.
The receiving country has to change their perception. The migrants are treated with low dignity or no dignity in the receiving countries. Human rights of migrants have to be ensured.
Migrationnewsbd.com: Is there any agenda of Mediterranean migration crisis in the upcoming summit?
Syed Saiful Haque: There is a separate session. They have to treat refugee not economic migrants. EU is saying they are economic migrants. Refugee status has to be given.