Multilateral Steps Emphasized for Protection of Migrants in COVID Pandemic

Global migration experts have emphasized on multilateralism referring to taking collective steps by the multiple countries of origins and destinations for protection of their migrant workers who were facing the extreme vulnerabilities due to the COVID pandemic situation.

Speaking at a virtual discussion on Tuesday, they called upon the state mechanisms to show their humanitarian behavior toward migrants to uphold dignity of the workers by treating them as human beings.

The Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) and the Cross-Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants ( CCRM) jointly organized the discussion on ‘Global and Regional Migration Governance During COVID-19 Pandemic.’

As panelist, MFA regional coordinator William Gois said that it has been the responsibility of the states to protect the migrant workers in distress.

During the COVID pandemic, the migrant workers have witnessed the manifested vulnerabilities in various levels, he said.

William said that though the countries of origins called migrants as ‘Heroes’ but their returns to homelands were not allowed fearing spread of corona virus.

‘Migrants are not aliens/others. They are human beings,’ he said, adding that states should uphold the dignity of the migrant workers.

Shabarinath Nair, Regional Migration Specialist, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia, moderated the virtual meeting, which was attended by over 400 participants from across the world.

‘This conversation should contribute to the migrant workers,’ said Shabari.

Bangladesh’s former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said that the corona pandemic has exposed the vulneralities of the migrant workers, affecting the flow of labour migrants and reducing the remittance intake.

He said that though the migration or human mobility would never be stopped but the global immigration steps would be changed by the COVID pandemic.

 Pietro Mona, Ambassador of Development, Forced Displacement, Migration Governance of Switzerland, said that global corona virus has opened the eyes of the people across the world.

Saying that migration was inter-linked with other many issues, he put emphasis on financial literacy of the migrant workers to properly use their remittances.

Prof Nicola Piper, Director of Asia Specific Migration Centre in Australia discussed the global migration governance system.

Laxman Basnet, general secretary of South Asian Regional Trade Union Council, said that all sending countries in South Asia should work together to look after their migrants working in the GCC and East Asian countries.

CCRM chair Roula Hamati, Prof Andrew Geddes, Director Policy Centre in Italy and Charles Obila, migration officer at IGAD, Africa, among others also spoke at the virtual meeting. 

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