Migrants have little access to justice at home, abroad: rights campaigners

Migrant workers who were abused or cheated at home and abroad had little access to justice, lawyers, rights campaigners and officials said at a discussion Saturday.
For the situation, they blamed brokers’ involvement with the recruitment process and the absence of bilateral agreements with the countries hiring foreign workers.
They raised the issues at a dialogue on ‘Access to Justice for Migrants and Their Family Members.
WARBE Development Foundation and Lawyers beyond Borders’ Bangladesh jointly organized the dialogue in collaboration with PROKAS programme of British Council at the CIRDAP Auditorium in the capital.
Speaking as the chief guest, acting expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Jabed Ahmed said that absence of justice for migrant workers was more acute in Bangladesh than in the destination countries.
In Bangladesh, he said, 80 per of the migrant workers don’t get justice they deserved while in the recipient country 20 per cent of them don’t get it.
It happens, he said, as most of workers lacked the awareness about the laws and their legal rights and were scared to go through the legal process.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said the migrant workers even don’t lodge complaints against the wrongs they had suffered as they don’t know whether or not complaint centres exist for them.
The situation for the family members of the migrant workers, he said, was even worse.
WARBE Development Foundation secretary general Faruque Ahmed said that female migrant workers were being abused at home and destination countries as they were recruited by outsourcing agencies.
He urged the government to set up dormitories for the domestic workers in destination countries to protect them from sexual abuse.
Faruque Ahmed, who returned to Bangladesh after working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appealed to the government only to send workers enlisted with the governments’ database.
International Labour Organization’s national programme officer Rahnuma Salam Khan suggested bringing migrant workers under the coverage of legal protection in destination countries by involving the legal institutes in those countries.
Country coordinator of Lawyers beyond Borders Bangladesh Abdullah Al Hasan said blamed the culture of non enforcement of the relevant laws for the problems facing the migrant workers.
Exchange of information, facts and evidence between the countries sending and receiving for migrants, he said, were essential for providing the migrant workers access to justice.
Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training director Nurul Islam who chaired, said that at the joint working group meeting with the KSA , Bangladesh would raise the issues of unduly long workers hours and accommodation problems facing the country’s female worker serving in the KSA.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme executive director Omar Faruk Chowdhury demanded the immediate implementation of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013.


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