BCSM Members Appeal to HPM to Protect Migrants, their Families
Bangladeshi Migrants Facing COVID-19 Abroad

Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration (BCSM) on Monday urged Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to create a fund for the migrants from government exchequer, not depending on the fund that has been created by the migrants themselves.

BCSM, a network of 16 civil society organizations, also urged the PM to increase the incentive to stop the downward trend in remittance flow and gear up the administration and make it accountable to reduce the scope of trafficking in post corona virus situation.

In the backdrop of corona pandemic, the country’s leading migrant rights bodies made the appeal to the prime minister through an open letter, according to a press release issued from BCSM secretariat, signed by RMMRU founding chair Tasneem Siddiqui.

The 16 migrants’ rights organizations include RMMRU, WARBE DF, BOMSA, IMA Research Foundation, MJF, ASK, BASUG, INAFI, BCWWF, YPSA, BOAF, Bastob, Rights Jessore, Devcom, Film 4 Peace and Change Makers.

The open letter suggested the government to bring change in education policy to capture the future labour market and forcefully present the concerns of all migrants in various multilateral forums when opportunity will arise; and no less importantly.

The organizations requested the government to take initiative to create a positive mindset about the migrants and ensure they are treated with dignity.

The open letter says that the PM provided leadership to the nation with all sincerity at this critical moment of COVID-19 pandemic.

‘You have announced a package of Tk 72,000 crore to support the export oriented industries and for the payment of wages to workers. In order to protect agriculture, you have created a Tk 5000 crore fund. You have also announced Tk 100 crore insurance scheme for the health workers.’

 ‘Migrants working under  ‘free visa’, irregular migrants, small entrepreneurs, service sector employees in the Middle East as well as a large section of those working in Europe are now mostly jobless and without income. ‘

The organizations said that under current condition for their own safety employers are conscious about the health of women domestic workers. ‘This has placed them in a little bit better situation compare to others. But in the absence of remittance, like the children of male migrants female migrants’ children also face food insecurity.’

A number of labour receiving countries have initiated programmes for deportation of irregular migrants. We strongly protest this move. Under international law, it is incumbent on labour receiving countries to provide protection to all migrants irrespective of their status.

The organizations appealed to the PM to place this issue in various multilateral forum including United Nations, Global Forum on Migration and Development, Colombo Process and Abu Dhabi Dialogue.

Experts predict in post pandemic world scope for new employment will be reduced and many current migrants will lose their jobs and return home.

They said that as people would  be desperate for jobs international trafficking networks and human smugglers may take advantage of this situation by preying on them.

‘Alternative employments have to be created for them.’

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