Bangladesh must raise voice to protect migrants' interests in Abu Dhabi Dialogue
THE 5th Ministerial Consultations and Senior Officials' Meeting of Abu Dhabi Dialogue on migrant workers' starts today. The aim of the meeting is to broaden the base for common understanding of issues and to influence practices and policies in the area of contractual labour for the region. Local media reported that a high level team led by Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad would attend the two-day dialogue. Earlier on Sunday, Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration urged the government to voice the demand for ensuring equal opportunities for the countries' migrants. There are 18-member states, including 7 states in the Middle East and 11 Colombo Process Member states from Asia. These are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Yemen. Current chairing country is Sri Lanka, previously it was Kuwait. Besides, the observer states are Japan, South Korea and Singapore while IOM, ILO and UN Women are kept as observer organizations.
We think it's a time-befitting step when thousands of migrants of the member countries have to face severe difficulties due to absence of proper migration policy. In particular, Bangladesh has to face awkward situation almost often when undocumented migrants are caught or sent by the destined countries. Even, the authorized migrants also face different problems, such as torture, sexual harassment, day and night job with low salaries or work without pay. Recently hundreds of women workers have returned from Saudi Arabia in empty hands where majority were allegedly raped or tortured by the employers. We do expect that Bangladesh in the Abu Dhabi Dialogue would raise the issue with due importance and ask the member states for taking joint steps to stop visa trading to facilitate the low cost migration. Besides, Bangladesh could also raise the proposal so that destination countries would take steps to provide post arrival orientation to expatriate workers.
Nobody will disagree that poverty continues to act as a push factor for migration. Though the government propagates massive development and steady high-growth rate, in fact thousands of youths are still unemployed. A proper international migration policy will open a door of fortune for the workers in the foreign countries.