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Moksedul, a Bangladeshi migrant worker who resided in Qatar for three years, almost believed that his voice was never to be heard; that his stories would remain untold. In fact, it almost came as a shock to him when he was asked to get up on stage and speak up, and speak up he did.
“I saw how the migrant workers of our country are ignored and have to go through adverse conditions. Hence just observing or celebrating this day is never going to be enough for the sake of changing the entire scenario. By highlighting the importance of this day, support and favour from the government must be increased and a secured life should be assured for those of us who are contributing to the economic development of Bangladesh by sending billions of US dollars as remittances every year”, he said. Moksedul also announced his request to the prime minister of Bangladesh to have the migration process to Malaysia wiped free of politics and to keep special seats for a specific group of migrants who had to return from Libya. The above occurrence took place at the seminar observing International Migrants Day on December 18, 2012, in the Rangpur district of Bangladesh. Many other seminars like this were hosted nationwide and many other migrant workers like Moksedul could have their voices heard on the platform created by the hosts observing International Migrants Day in Bangladesh.
The International Migrants Day was observed in Bangladesh on December 18, 2012, as elsewhere in the world. Like every year, with the promise of protecting the rights of the migrant workers, BRAC has observed this special day in collaboration with the government through jaunty rallies, documentary exhibition, cultural function, seminar and debate competition, migration fair, reception in honour of Bangladeshi migrants and prize giving ceremony. In order to be a part of this at the national level, BRAC took part at the migration fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, hosted by the government entities, where it won second place in best stall competition. Apart from BRAC, different government and non-governmental organisations observed the day with elaborate programmes.
Md Abdul Aziz, chairman of the Mekura Migration Forum who is working relentlessly to secure safe migration processes and raise awareness in grassroots level, attended one of the nationwide conducted seminars and spoke about addressing the migrants’ conditions. After coming up on stage, he said that, “Migrant workers are the seeds of economic development of our country, and in order to help them develop, the government, NGOs and civil society must play a vital role. We formed a Migration Forum with the help of BRAC’s migration programme and the people in our area.”
BRAC’s Safe Migration Facilitation Programme works to ensure the rights of migrants by creating easy access to services that help them avoid exploitation. Bangladeshi potential migrants often fall victim to fraudulent migration opportunities. The reasons behind that are usually limited access to information, inadequate services from agencies at all levels and lack of proactive policymaking such as social and economic reintegration plans for returnee migrants. It follows the PIM process – Participation, Interaction and Mobilisation. The programme aligns with Millennium Development Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS and ensuring environmental sustainability. It also supports the government’s existing plan and operation from grassroots to national level emphasising gender equality and gender justice at all layers of planning and implementation.
To contribute or know more about BRAC’s efforts to ensure migration friendly environment as well as long term benefits for the migrant workers, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.