Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation and National Women Farmers and Workers Association observed International Migrants Day.
On the occasion of International Migrants Day, 18 December 2019, Leaders of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) and National Women Farmers and Workers Association (NWFA) demanded respect and security of migrant workers at a rally held at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) today. They were speaking at an event organized to observe the International Migrants Day. International Migrants Day is annually held on 18 December to recognize the efforts, contributions, and rights of migrants worldwide. It was on 4 December 2000, the UN General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December as International Migrants Day.
Speaking at the rally, Golom Sorowor highlighted that Bangladeshis are sixth in the world in terms of migrant workers working in different countries. According to an estimate of 2019, about 75 lakh Bangladeshi people live in different countries of the world. Most of them have migrated temporarily to the Middle East as workers to earn a living. Some of them have immigrated to developed countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, in hopes of a better life. In the last three decades, the number of Bangladeshi migrants has increased by more than 40 percent. Over the years, millions of people migrated to other countries for the sake of livelihood and the longing for good.
Mamun Hasan said not only Bangladeshis migrate to other countries, but the country has also sheltered the migrant population. A large number of displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar are living in Bangladesh as refugees. According to the estimates of the United Nations, the number of such refugees is now 9 lakh 32 thousand. In the nineties, that number was less than one lakh. Bangladesh stands second to Pakistan in South Asia for providing shelter to refugees. There are about 14 lakh refugees in Pakistan.
Nurjahan Begum said, our migrant workers are not only boosting Bangladesh’s economy but also contributing to the economy of the countries they work in, these countries are developing on the sweat of our people. They have made the lives of people in those countries more relaxed and more comfortable. Without migrant workers, all those countries could not move forward. However, are these migrants getting any respect at all? Human traders and employers exploit migrants and always tries to oppress the rights of migrants. The most abused victims are greedy brokers and illegal immigrants. On the other hand, our women workers are victims of physical and sexual abuse.
The chair of the event, Abdul Mazid, said that 80 percent of Bangladeshi migrant workers are working in the Middle East countries and Malaysia. In those countries, there is a lack of legal systems to protect the rights of migrant workers. In most cases, their rights are violated completely or neglected. The employers of those countries do not favor or respect any international convention on the rights of immigrants. Besides, the local court tends to support the people of that country. That is why migrant workers do not get justice in such countries. We have to remember that immigrant workers are also humans; they certainly expect respect and security. We have to continue our fight to support and ensure security and dignified life for all the immigrant and rural workers around the world. It is our duty to work towards building a more humane, dignified, and better world.