The Peoples Global Action on Migration Development and Human Rights (PGA) led by the PGA International Committee was held on Monday in Quito, Ecuador.
Global migration experts, migrant rights activists, returnee migrants and their rights campaigners joined the day long programme at a university campus in Quito and they called for protection of rights of migrant workers across the globe.
Migrant Forum in Asia better known as MFA facilitated the programmes including plenary sessions and the room based discussions on different issues of migration and development.
In his welcome address, MFA regional coordinator William Gois said that the PGA has been usually held alongside with the event of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
For last two years, the Global Coalition of Migration (GCM) has been coodinating the PGA, he mentioned. This year in Quito, an adhoc committee had taken the responsibility to hold the PGA, said William.
‘In the PGA we talk openly among ourselves and lean, exchange, stetegize faiths and share our experiences,’ he said.
Since 2006, the PGA has been bringing together migrant associations, migrant rights organizations, trade unions, faith groups, academia and other civil society from around the world and they shared information, dialogue to strengthen analyses and developed joint actions for campaigns on current and emerging issues related to migration.
The PGA provided an essential space to enable civil society to critically engage the governments’ Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) process to challenge states to undertake migration and development policy-making from a human rights framework, as well as hold governments accountable to their international human rights and development commitments.
The PGA paved the way for capacity building and the development of movements and networks. The 2020 PGA in Quito focused on the following the themes such as ‘Criminalization of Migration, Return and Fair Recruitment
In the group works, the global migration experts raised the current issues facing by the migrant workers at their home and host countries. Civil society organizations from Bangladesh also took relevant issues which were being faced by Bangladeshi migrants
Bangladeshi lawyer and British Council’s Senior IBP Manager and Gender and Social Inclusion Adviser Shirin Lira said that Bangladeshi female migrant workers, who took shelters, complained of facing ‘prison like situation’ in the safe homes, run by Bangladesh missions abroad.
She also raised the migration related various global and regional issues in the meetings.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque mentioned that migrant workers were frequently getting undocumented due to so called free visa and its trading in the destinations.
IID chief executive Syeed Ahmad said that domestic workers were passing days as slaves in the Middle East countries due to existing there ‘Kafala System’.
OKUP chairman Shakirul Islam stressed the need for protection of Bangladeshi undocumented migrants who were stranded in the European countries in irregular status.
Awaj Foundation director Anisur Rahman Khan said that civil society organizations, trade unions and migrant communities should have to be united to play coordinating roles in home and host countries for protection of migrant workers.
British Council’s PROKAS programme team leader Gerry Fox, Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra executive director Sumaiya Islam and Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit director Marina Sultana also took part in the discussion of the PGA.
Global leaders mentioned that migrants continued to pay a high price for restrictive and exploitative migration policies. Migrants risked their lives on a daily basis and embarked on dangerous migratory journeys as a result of the lack of serious regular migration options. Reaching their destination is however no guarantee of safety.
They said that migrants in irregular situations were faced by detention and deportation, often with little consideration to their communal and familial ties, and little attention to their contributions to the societies in which they live.
They mentioned that the rise of xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiment worldwide has only exacerbated this problem, resulting in states cracking down on irregular migrants who are deemed “undesirable” in public discourses, often overlooking the states’ own responsibility in creating and sustaining, and benefiting from irregularity.
Civil society in different regions of the world has put a strong call to stop criminalizing migrants.