Medical &Health

Ensure dignity of migrants: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the international community to work together for lifting the migrants from misery and ensuring their dignity.

"As Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) moves to the global consultative process in 2017, we must pledge and act to lift the migrants from misery and agony," she said while inaugurating the Ninth GFMD Summit at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.

The premier said migration is no longer about 'us' and 'them', it is about prosperity and well-being of all peoples and states. "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.

Sheikh 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.

Wu Hongbo, Under Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, representing the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Guy Ryder, Director General, International Labour Organization (ILO), Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, representing the Chair of the Global Migration Group (GMG), and Francois Fouinat, Senior Adviser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, 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 BSc also addressed.

The prime minister said in a diverse and connected world, migration is inevitable and essential. "So, societies need to understand the benefits of diversity for harmony among all people, including the migrants," she said.

In the recent years there has been an intense focus and advancement on migration issues, she said adding, "We recognize that migration connects communities, economies and societies ... migration is equally essential for peace, stability and growth."

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.

The prime minister said 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.

Sheikh Hasina said migrants 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.

The premier 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.

Noting that migration is a most complex human phenomenon, Sheikh Hasina said migration and migrants are not to be feared or avoided. "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.

Sheikh Hasina said it is 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.

The premier also thanked all concerned for supporting the Bangladesh Chairmanship of GFMD.

Representatives from 125 countries and over 30 UN agencies, international organisations, global civil society and business are participating in the three-day GFMD Summit.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)