Senior lawyers, trade union leaders, returnee migrants and migrant rights campaigners on Saturday urged the government to protect Bangladeshi migrant workers facing various exploitations and discriminations abroad.
Speaking at an online meeting, they also urged the government to take necessary steps to ensure quality migration by grooming and sending skilled workers from Bangladesh to reduce their exploitations in destination countries.
WARBE Development Foundation organized the online Consultation on Protecting Migrant Workers’ Rights for Social and Economic Advancement on the Occasion of International Workers’ Day.
Supreme Court Lawyer and BOMSA director Farida Yeasmin said that most of the Bangladeshi workers were not enjoying their legal rights as they were forced to do overworks without payment.
“Bangladeshi migrant workers should be protected by sending them abroad under bilateral agreement,” she said.
Trade union leader Abul Hossain said that about 90 per cent of country’s workers still remained out of the labour law and they were getting deprived of their rights.
“The main theme of the historic May Day is yet to be implemented,” he said.
Parliamentarians Caucus on Migration and Development chairman Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary who spoke at the discussion as chief guest said that time has come to bargain with the destination countries to ensure decent works for the country’ migrant workers.
“There are huge demand of skilled workers all over the globe. So our workers must be groomed as skilled manpower before sending them abroad,” he said.
Parliamentarians Caucus on Migration and Development secretary general Mahjabeen Khaled suggested the government to follow good practices of Philippines, Sri Lanka and India about management of wage theft issues faced by migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman, WARBE DF said that the government should allocate sufficient budget for the migration sector considering its importance in the economy.
“Social movement is needed to ensure safe migration,” he said, adding that mandatory pension scheme should be introduced for the country’s migrant workers.
Migration expert Dr Nurul Islam, former director at BMET, said that human rights should be ensured for the migrant workers through applying international frameworks.
He also put emphasis on sending skilled workers abroad and ensuring decent works for them to reduce the problems in the migration sector.
WARBE DG director Jasia Khatoon moderated the webinar, also addressed by among other Shiril Lira of British Council. WARBE senior program officer Santa Islam presented keynote paper at the meeting.