Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the international community to take a vow and act together to lift the migrants from their miseries and agonies.
“Migration is no longer about ‘us’ and ‘them’… it is about prosperity and wellbeing of all people, all states. We need to see how we can realise the transformative potential of migration by laying an appropriate framework for governance of migration,” she said.
The PM was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the three-day 9th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The meeting will discuss ways to ensure overall welfare of migrants.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Migration that Works for Sustainable Development for All: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”.
Hasina called for securing a predictable and responsible international response to migrants and refugees to realise the pledges of “transformation” of the Agenda 2030.
“We’ve to ensure that their [migrants] rights are protected — in all situations, regardless of their status as we all agreed in New York in September,” she added.
Recognising migration’s role in connecting communities, economies and societies, the PM said in a diverse and connected world, peace, stability and growth is equally essential. “Societies need to understand the benefits of diversity, for harmony among all people including the migrants.”
A migrant is not just a labour, but he has a unique story to tell. He makes a great sacrifice as he leaves his family and country, said the premier.
“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,” Hasina told her audience.
About the global development vision, popularly known as Agenda 2030, she said all need to identify convergence of interests, balance needs, aspirations, security concerns and opportunities to realise the goals.
She hoped that the GMFD will focus on some of the challenging issues like migrants in situations of crisis and conflicts, migration governance, diversity and harmony.
She mentioned Bangladesh’s proposal on the comprehensive Global Compact for Migration Governance at the UN Summit on Migrants and Refugees which the world accepted in September.
The PM urged the participants to be ambitious, pragmatic and balanced in designing a new compact.
Hasina also said the international community was working with states and civil society to push for a comprehensive Global Compact of Migrants and Refugees by 2018.
LGRD Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Under Secretary General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs representing the UN Secretary General Wu Hongbo, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director General Guy Ryder, International Organisation for Migration DG William Lacy Swing and ILO DG Lakshmi Puri also spoke at the programme.
A video message of UN Secretary General-designate António Guterres was screened at the function. Colin Rajah, chair of the 9th GFMD Civil Society Days, presented a report on GFMD 2016 on behalf of the civil society.
Representatives from 125 countries and over 30 UN bodies, international organisations, global civil society and businesses are participating in the programme.
‘KEEP MIGRANTS AT THE CORE OF AGENDA’
Addressing the summit yesterday, Indian State Minister for External Affairs MJ Akbar laid emphasis on keeping the migrants at the core of the agenda and development programmes, tools and methodology.
He said this approach would help enhance the interests of migrants and their families while maintaining policy space for governments of destination, transit and origin.
“Why have we gathered here? For one reason, to ensure that the next generation doesn’t suffer,” Akbar said.
He suggested a 9-point protocol to give a practical dimension to good intentions and sought focus on the economic dimension of migration, eliminating barriers to such migration and creating an environment for safe, orderly, regular, open and legal migration.