International Migrants Day Observed Amid COVID Pandemic

The International Migrants Day 2020 has been celebrated on Friday (December 18) across the world during this COVID-19 pandemic that has badly affected lives and livelihoods of the millions of the migrant workers.

Like other countries, many migrant workers of Bangladesh have experienced joblessness, food scarcity, undocumented situation, detention and deportation at destinations while many others faced xenophobic situation from the society on return home amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Global migration experts have emphasized the need for forging strong partnership among all stakeholders including trade unions and civil society organizations to protect the millions of migrant workers facing crisis across the world due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Marking the International Migrants Day 2020, Bangladesh government’s concerned ministry, civil society organizations and returned migrant workers held press conference, discussions and various programmes.

To mark the day, some CSOs including Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) organized programmes in Sonargoan of Narayanganj while Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA) celebrated the day in Savar of Dhaka and Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK) held programs in Shingrai of Manikganj, said concerned officials.

Among other, WARBE Development Foundation and Refugee also brought rally in front of National Press Club while and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) disseminated its messages through social media and online to mark the day.

Meanwhile, representatives from international organizations, Bangladeshi diaspora organizations and trade union leaders have made their remarks and sent the messages.

The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome was first identified in December last year in Wuhan, China. More than 74 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.64 million deaths attributed to COVID-19 globally.

On the occasion of 18 December, which marks the International Migrants Day and the two-year anniversary of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) it has been important international efforts to foster justice for the migrants in crisis.

Bangladesh sends, on an average, 6 lakh workers abroad each year and it receives annual remittance of US$ 16 billion, according to officials.

Over 13 million of Bangladeshi migrants have gone to work to 170 countries since 1976, according to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).

Wage Earners Welfare Board recorded that over 3.27 lakh Bangladeshi migrant workers, mostly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have returned home from April to November.

Of them, 2.87 lakh were male and 40,000 were female migrants, the data show.

Apart from KSA and UAE, Bangladeshi migrants have largely come back home from Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Maldives, Malaysia, Jordan and Lebanon.

ILO estimates 164 million migrant workers worldwide, approximately 111.2 million (67.9 per cent) live in high-income countries, 30.5 million (18.6 per cent) in upper middle-income countries, 16.6 million (10.1 per cent) in lower middle-income countries and 5.6 million (3.4 per cent) in low-income countries.

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