A roundtable here in Dhaka elaborately discussed the four thematic areas of Global Compact for Migration-- fair and ethical recruitment, consular support for migrants in crisis, access to justice, support service and welfare protection as well as decent work aimed to prepare an updated country report on the issues.
This meeting was a follow up discussion on the Asia regional meeting on the Global Compact for Migration that took place on August 24-26, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA).
Solidarity Centre’s Bangladesh Office on Monday organized the roundtable at its office in the capital where the country’s leading migrant rights campaigners, trade union leaders, representatives from non-government organizations and media took part in the discussion followed by group works.
The participants said that the Global Compact for Migration should promote decent work, guarantee ILO fundamental principles and rights at work to all migrant workers, regardless of status and also guide policies aimed at overcoming protection gaps in access to quality services, justice and due process for irregular migrants and those in vulnerable situations.
They also called for addressing the key issues of fair and ethical recruitment, consular support in crisis, access to justice, support service and welfare protection as well as decent work when the UN Global Forum on Migration and Development adopts the global compact for migration.
Solidarity Center’s country programme director Christopher K Johnson in his welcome remarks described migration as a global issue requiring all to show positive attitudes towards migrant workers’ movement across the world.
Solidarity Center’s deputy programme director Kelly Fay Rodriguez said that the rights of both regular and irregular migrants should be protected with due emphasis in the Global Compact to be adopted by the United Nations in December.
She appreciated the government of Bangladesh for taking its active roles in the international level negotiations.
Bangladesh Civil Society Coordination Committee on Global Forum on Migration and Development Co-chair Syed Saiful Haque said that there was visible lack of coordination among the ministries of expatriate welfare and overseas employment, employment and labour, home and foreign affairs on migrants’ issues.
‘All of the concerned ministries should work together to take the issues ahead in the country,’ said, Saiful Haque, also chairman of WARBE Development Foundation.
Trade union leader Abul Hossain said that Bangladesh has not yet ratified the ILO convention 189 that calls for ensuring decent living and working conditions for domestic workers.
For this reason, he said, ‘We face problems when we raise our domestic workers’ issues working in the Middle East countries.’
Trade union leader and Supreme Court lawyer Delwar Hossain Khan said that most of the country’s workers were recruited for overseas jobs by the recruiting agencies who continuously cheat them and charge high migration fees.
He sought ILO’s intervention in removing discriminatory wages paid to Bangladeshi workers in destination countries.
Solidarity Centre's senior programme officer Dr Lily Gomes while moderating the discussions said that migration issue was very important and everyone should play their due roles to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration.
In the group work presentation Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam discussed about definition of fair and ethical recruitment, the government initiatives in response to fair recruitment and its invisible plans to create any regional framework that would systemize the recruitment process of SAARC member states.
IMA Research foundation executive director Anisur Rahman Khan presented his group works on consular support for migrants in crisis, demanding exemplary punishment of convict employers at destinations.
Salma Akhter Moni of OKUP made presentations on access to justice, support services and welfare protections and put a number of recommendations for global compact for migration regarding the issues.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumaiya Islam made presentations about the decent work saying that it should be ensured by bilateral agreement specifying working hours, wages and accommodations.