B’desh Embassies Need to Be Migrant Friendly to Achieve SDGs
Photo: Migration News

Bangladesh embassies need to play more migrant friendly roles to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), speakers told a dialogue on Monday.

All stakeholders concerned would have to work together to take the country ahead and help to achieve the SDGs by 2030 set by the United Nations, they said.

Lawmakers, academics, human rights activists, civil society members and development partners took part in dialogue organized by Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development on ‘Progress of Implementation of SDG Targets on Migration and Development’ at the Parliament Members’ Club in the city.

Deputy speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah who was the chief guest, said that ministry of foreign affairs would have to take the responsibility to direct its mission officials to sincerely work for the migrant workers.

He called upon the bureaucrats, the government officials, to change their mindset and work sincerely to achieve the SDGs.

 Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development chairman Israfil Alam MP who presided over the dialogue said that Bangladeshi workers should be sent abroad under strong Bilateral Agreements to protect their rights

Former MP Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia recalled that she herself did not get help from a Bangladesh embassy.

Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary MP said that SDGs could be achieved through creating awareness for safe migration and sending abroad skilled workers.

Bangladesh missions need to provide legal assistance to the migrant workers facing problems at destinations appointing lawyers, he observed.

American Solidarity Center’s senior program officer Dr Lily Gomes said that Bangladesh embassy officials should be invited to attend such dialogue so that they could understand the real problems of the migrant workers.

A large number of Bangladeshi domestic workers were facing problems in destination countries, she said, adding that the domestic workers frequently needed consular assistances at Bangladesh missions.

WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the 17 goals and 169 targets of the sustainable development goals were set by the United Nations.

The Bangladesh government has actively played due roles in the negotiation process of the SDGs, he said.

Aroma Dutta MP said that recruiting agencies, the main stakeholders of the migration sector, often cheated the migrant workers and they should be brought under punishment.

Former MP Roksana Yasmin Suty said that all outgoing migrant workers should be covered by insurance so that they could get some profit after returning home.

Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum chairman Nazmul Ahsan  said that middlemen should be brought under legal frameworks to cut the migration cost of the workers.

Chisol Mree of INCIDINE Bangladesh said that Bangladesh has been put in tier 2 watch list of Trafficking-In-Persons by the US State department for third time due to lack of enforcement of counter trafficking law.

If any state remains on the tier 2 watch list for consecutive three years, it could be downbgraded to tier three and economic sanction might be imposed on it, he said

BNSK executive director Sumiya Islam urged the government to recognize ‘Domestic Work as Work’ to achieve the SDGs.

Jagannath University professor of economics Habibur Rahman and Institute of Informatics Development chief executive Sayeed Ahamed presented separate keynote papers.

British Council’s Prokas Programme head Jerry Fox, ILO national program officer Rahnuma Salam Khan, Chief Executive at Help for Disability and Distress Shemanta Sheraz, Centre for Women and Children Studies president Israt Shmeem and RMMRU director Marina Sultana among others also spoke.

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