Dhaka – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday urged global community to work together to address crisis over migration and ensure the migrants’ dignity as she believes migration equally essential for peace, stability and growth.
She also called the international community to step up actions to lessen the miseries and persecution of migrants as they are now in hellish and horrific sufferings in different parts of the globe.
Hasina came up with the call inaugurating the ninth meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development being held in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. The three-day conference will end on Monday.
Migration is no longer about ‘us’ and ‘them’, it is about prosperity and well-being of all peoples and states, the prime minister said at a time when thousands of Rohingya Muslims persecuted in neighbouring Myanmar crossing border into Bangladesh.
“So we need to ensure that each migrant moves and works in dignity and safety. That their rights are protected – in all situations, regardless of their status as we all agreed in New York in last September,” she said.
Bangladesh is also one of the largest sources of migrants who work in other countries, in many cases under inhuman conditions, and adds huge revenue to the national exchequer.
A migrant is just not a labour and each migrant has a unique story to tell.
“A migrant makes so much of sacrifice as he or she leaves his or her family and country,” she said adding that they contribute their ideas, labour and resources to the development of the host societies.
“They also spend their best part of life for others … often we ignore their human stories, their inalienable rights as human beings,” she said.
People move for so many purposes, just not for work. In a globalized world, she said, people will continue to move in large numbers.
“Therefore, the challenge is how we can facilitate safe, orderly and regular movement of people more. And, ensure that a person moves as a matter of free choice,” she said.
Migration is a most complex human phenomenon, and migrants are not to be feared or avoided, she said adding “Rather we need to see how we can realise the transformative potential of migration by laying appropriate framework for governance of migration,” she said.
In this connection, the premier fondly remembered Peter Sutherland who has been instrumental on the issue of migration governance. This April, she said, Bangladesh proposed a comprehensive Global Compact for Migration Governance at the UN Summit on Migrants and Refugees and the proposal was accepted in September.
“I was happy to see that the world accepted our ideas of a migration compact … now, we are working with states and civil society to push for a comprehensive Global Compact of Migrants and Refugees that should get adopted in 2018 at the UN,” she said.
Hasina also urged all to be ambitious, pragmatic and balanced in designing a new compact on the occasion of the GFMD Summit.
“We need to secure a predictable and responsible international response to migrants and refugees to realize the promises of ‘transformation’ of the Agenda 2030,” she said.
UN Under Secretary General Wu Hongbo, Director General of International Organization for Migration (Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of International Labour Organization Guy Ryder, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women Lakshmi Puri, and Senior Adviser of Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration Francois Fouinat, spoke at the function.
A video message of UN Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres was broadcast at the function, while Colin Rajah, Chair of Ninth GFMD Civil Society Days (CSD), presented a report on GFMD 2016 on behalf of the civil society.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali delivered the address of welcome, while LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain and Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam also addressed.
Sheikh Hasina said the global development vision, popularly known as Agenda 2030, recognizes migration as a key enabler of sustainable development.
“In order to realize these, we need to identify convergence of our interests, balance our needs, aspirations, security concerns and opportunities,” she said.
It is the proper time for the GFMD to speak candidly and boldly. “I am happy that GFMD will focus on some of the challenging issues, like migrants in situations of crisis and conflicts, migration governance, diversity and harmony,” she said.
Representatives from 125 countries and over 30 UN agencies, international organisations, global civil society and business are participating in the three-day GFMD Summit.