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State Minister for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who led the Indian delegation at the Global Forum on Migration and Development, GFMD, on Saturday proposed the plan while addressing a thematic session.
He stressed that the proposed compact should be gender sensitive, address the vulnerabilities of women, trafficking, human smuggling iniquitous labour practices and recognise legal migration as a positive contribution to the host economy.
He also highlighted the salient distinction between migration and refugees and the need for developing separate sets of policies, framework, and procedures.
Nine-point action plan
• Keep the migrant at the core of the agenda and develop programmes, tools and methodology to enhance the interests of migrants, and their families while maintaining policy space for governments of destination, transit and origin.
• Focus on the economic dimension of migration and work towards eliminating barriers to economic migration;
• Create an environment for safe, orderly, regular, open and legal migration.
• Focus on recognition of skills and human mobility partnerships.
• Be gender sensitive, provide equal opportunities to women and adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices;
• Include special provisions to take care of people in vulnerable situations and inclusion of persons with disabilities;
• Protect the human rights of migrants; identify vulnerabilities and stop exploitation and abuse;
• Reduce incidents and impact of irregular migration, including trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, as well as facilitating return and reintegration;
• Make provisions to respond to the situations of natural, man-made disasters and crises due to conflicts, as these have potential to disrupt the migration phenomenon and disproportionately affect the interest of migrants.
Akbar said research indicated that a large section of migrants worked in the informal sector. “This is a grey area with its own sets of challenges and remains largely unregulated.”
He suggested that a “comprehensive and objective, understanding of these challenges is essential for the success of global governance as well as the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development.”
At the beginning of his remarks, he recalled the great crisis leading to Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence, when tyranny drove the people of Bangladesh to seek security and shelter in India.
“45 years ago this land saw countless millions fleeing tyranny and taking shelter in my country. That year was one of deep pain and hope, as tyranny was defeated by the people.
“Our fathers’ generation saw its share of suffering. We have seen it too. Why are we gathered here? For one reason. To ensure that the next generation does not suffer,” he said.
Global compact on migration
On Sep 19 this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a set of commitments to enhance the protection of refugees and migrants.
These commitments are known as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (NY Declaration), which reaffirms the importance of the international protection regime and represents a commitment by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.
It paves the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018: the global compact on refugees and the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
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