Past Events 2017

National Consultation on “Application of Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013 through Mediation”
18 September 2017
Special Seminar Room, Nowab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, Dhaka University
 
RMMRU has organized a consultation on “Application of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act- 2013 in Grassroots Level through Mediation” on 18 September 2017 (Monday) from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Professor, DU & Founding Chair, RMMRU moderated the consultation. Advocate Hosne Ara Luthfa Dalia, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh National Parliament graced consultation as Chief Guest and Mr. Md. Zafrol Hasan Senior District Judge, National Legal Aid Services Organization as a special guest. Panel discussant were Mr. A.Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies and Mr.Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Secretary General-2 BAIRA. In this consultation, they presented their notes on migration law and the role of recruiting agency and middleman. The major area of discussion were
• Prosecution of Overseas Employment and Migration Law, 2013
• Arbitration Practices at community level
• Rules of Law and middleman issue
• Grievance Management System at grassroots level

The major part of this programme was the discussion from a panel of lawyers from Dhaka Bar Association, Madaripur Legal Aid Association, Tangail Bar Association, BILS, BLAST, and NLASO also took part in the discussion on migration law. This consultation was enriched by the presence of grassroots level beneficiaries from Tangail who get the solution of the fraudulence cases through RMMRU Migration Mediation Committee. RMMRC members also discussed the model of Grievance Management System in Tangail District. Officials from BMET, INGOs, and NGOs also provided their opinion about migration law and its application in grassroots level through mediation

Professor, DU & Founding Chair, RMMRU, Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, said that RMMRU is working through the grassroots level mediation committe, advisory group and youth volunteer group. Through this system, RMMRU is trying to support the affected migrants in the grassroots level. She said

“Only middleman is not responsible for fraudulence in the process of migration. Sometimes recruiting agency is also responsible. We will try to mediate complains of affected migrants through mediation at a local level who doesn’t have enough documents to get justice.”

Mr. Md. Zafrol Hasan Senior District Judge said that middlemen are wise enough to cheat the uneducated migrants. They address the ultra poor people and convince them saying they will get high salary and their social condition will be improved through migration. Poor people sell their last properties for migration so when they returned home after fraudulence they don’t able to appeal for cases. In this time mediation can give them relief.

Mr. Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, BCAS said also shared his experience about cases of victims. He said that

“court cases are a long procedure because a lot of people are suffering for a long time because of court cases. Court cases involving lawyer don’t provide peace. So it is important to use social value to solve the problems of fraudulence. It is a positive signal to solve the fraudulence cases through mediation and it should be spread out in Bangladesh”

Advocate Hosne Ara Luthfa Dalia thanked RMMRU and praised for organizing such kind of consultation on Migration Law and mediation. She said that

“RMMRU arranged this programme involving relevant persons like Lawyers, Judge, BMET, BAIRA and others organizations who are working on migration which is a great idea. She suggested contacting with BAIRA, Recruiting Agency, and government officials for migration instead of a middleman. She said RMMRU is working to recover money from middleman which is a good initiative. “

Mr. Sanoar Hossain, affected migrants, Tangail said that he applied to local arbitration with the leadership of chairman but his problem was not solved so he again file his cases to RMMRC for mediation. After that, he got 1 lack 10 thousand takas from middleman through mediation by RMMC.

This consultation was important for awareness building about mediation and it will be legally fruitful as it involved lawyers and judges and related stakeholders. A number of TV and print media cover the news of this consultation highlighting migration law and its role to protect migrants’ rights.

Solidarity meeting ‘Amrao Rohingya
Jointly Organized by: RMMRU
Venue: Dhaka Reporters Unity
Date: September 15, 2017

RMMRU Recommendations on
relief, shelter, care, safety, return of the recently arriving Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

The 40 year long persecution through racial suppression, torture, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people by our neighbouring country Myanmar in its Rakhain state (formerly Arakan) has reached an extremely critical level. On the pretext of Rohingya militant group ARSA’s attack on 25 security posts on 25 August 2017, the Myanmar military and its collaborators in ethnic cleansing the extremist Buddhist group and others have swooped on the innocent lives and dignity of the civilian Rohingya people. The ethnic cleansing and persecution has now reached the level of genocide as per the UN and ICJ definition. Helpless women, children, aged have now come to seek shelter in Bangladesh in numbers unseen and unheard of in recent memory.
Bangladesh has been trying to resolve the issue by bilateral negotiation since 2012 and return and settle the Rohingya refugees who have come to Bangladesh since 1990. But the current unprecedented violence and the influx of refugees have compelled the government to go for multilateral forums instead of bilateral framework and present the case of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingyas perpetrated by the Myanmar military and collaborators to the United Nations and world public forums. Within this short period of time four hundred thousand Rohingyas have come to seek refuge to Bangladesh from the violent and deadly persecution in the Rakhain state of Myanmar. This number is set to increase in all likelihood. The role of the people and government of Bangladesh in accepting the refugees is a matter of pride and praiseworthy.
It is a huge task managing and safeguarding the four hundred thousand refugees. We know that the government will run this operation with support and in consultation and liaison with different national and international agencies including the UN. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit present its recommendations to all concerned stakeholders:
 
Relief work and Care services:
Bangladesh has a substantive experience in relief and rehabilitation. A relief distribution action plan should be designed quickly in light of that. Representatives from the refugees and concerned stakeholders from the civil society should be incorporated in this plan. A representative and responsive coordinating committee should be formed to that end. Refugee management operation is very complex and multidimensional. This is not about relief and care only. It involves personal safety and security of the refugees as well. Hence it is important to keep in mind the sensitivities of the local people of the hosting area as well.

In conjunction with the financial contributions and support from the international community the responsible line ministry for relief may call and impress upon private citizens for individual or other types of donations and contributions through online advertisements and solicitations. A direct monitoring and online display system of the relief activities may be maintained for the understanding of stakeholders and general public. A list of contributors may be hosted on the same site for record.

The refugee registration process should be further strengthened with human and other resources and set up right at the entry points with heavy traffic of the refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh. This registration should be reflective of their refugee status as well.

Secured housing, safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation should be arranged and in place for the refugees. Healthcare support should be set up immediately, especially for the children. Otherwise it will be hard to contain spread of diseases and cases of child death.

Refugees with wounds from bullets and mines should receive proper medical care. Every hospital and healthcare clinic is working with compassion and diligence. We must remember that medical needs of the female refugees are different from that of the male refugees. Many of them are in need of maternity care and post rape treatment including psychological counseling.
 
As relief emergency ends there is a tendency for refugees to go to a third country through irregular channels of migration and human smuggling is likely to increase. This ultimately ends up in loss of lives and conditions of forced labour, if not slavery. To reduce this possibility, refugees should be made aware of the facts and scenarios and the law enforcement agencies should be oriented or trained on the same.
 
Refugee women and children are specific targets of the middlemen – dalals and human traffickers/ smugglers. Special awareness programme should be undertaken now for the protection of these women and child refugees. National and local NGOs could be utilized to do just that. Moreover, for protection of Rohingya women from molestation and sexual harassment in the country they should be registered immediately and settled in safe camps. We have seen before that Rohingya refugees were branded as “infiltrators” and seen as threat to national security. Hence their safety was in jeopardy. Although Rohingya refugees are currently seen with sensitivity and humanely, some quarters are trying to portray them as fresh threats to security. We have to emphasize and empathize with their ‘human insecurity’. Measures and Activities related to return of Rohingyas to Myanmar:

Short and long term strategic planning and roadmap for regional and international campaign should be formulated to ensure safe return of the Rohingya refugees to their own country – Myanmar. All concerned including academicians, researchers, artists and activists should be working to share the responsibility with the government in materializing this strategic roadmap.

The world community must be reminded time and again that Rohingyas are not Bangladesh’s concern alone rather they are concern of all countries. The burden of maintaining this persecuted and displaced population should be shouldered by all countries. At the same time we continue international campaign we ought to enhance bilateral dialogue process with Myanmar to securely repatriate Rohingyas to Myanmar.

To change the current position of China and India on the Rohingya issue bilateral discussion and negotiation should continue with these countries with serious urgency. Side by side Rohingya centered cultural activities should be geared up to create awareness and empathy in the general people in these countries.
We should also inform and get ASEAN countries in confidence to make them realize the fact that this issue will destabilize the whole region and would endanger their own security.

Present the Rohingya issue to the recently instituted mass movement framework under the Bali Process.
The genocide of Rohingyas should be adequately painted and portrayed by the artists through paintings and publications, especially by those of expatriate Bengali artists in Europe, North America and other countries. Simultaneously international celebrity figures working on small arms/land mines and refugee issues with UN other international bodies could be engaged to raise public opinion in favor of stopping this genocide and restraining the military machine of Myanmar and its collaborators.

It is the responsibility of the researchers to establish the facts of genocide of Rohingyas by the Myanmar military and the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the state. They should prepare theoretical analyses on this issue based on principles of ICJ – International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, Rome Statute, Landmine Convention, mass murder and genocide, ethnic cleansing and so on.

The Rohingya debate has a historical context. Historians can work on the narratives and facts to establish and help government prove their argument on the Rohingya issue.

Workshop on ‘Decentralization of Migration Services: Delegation of Authority from BMET to DEMO’
Jointly Organized by: RMMRU & BMET
Venue: BMET Conference Room
Date: July 31, 2017

Assess the decentralization of BMET services to 26 DEMOs and perceive the DEMO officials opinions with regard to the effectiveness of mediation/arbitration about fraudulence in the migration process.

A workshop was organized namely ‘Decentralization of Migration Services: Delegation of Authority from BMET to DEMO’ on July 31, 2017 jointly by RMMRU and BMET. Respected personnel like Mr. Jabed Ahmed, Additional Secretary, MoEWOE and from BMET honorable Mr. Selim Reza, DG, Mr. Tazul Islam, Additional General (Employment), Mr. Abdul Hye Additional General (Training) added more value to the workshop by their presence. Mr. Md. Shawkat Ali Waresi, Deputy Team Leader, PROKAS was the Special Guest of the programme. Apart from them some other respected directors and officials from BMET also enriched the event. Moreover, DEMO officials from 26 decentralized districts, RMMRU Migration Mediation Committee (RMMC) members, and 13 migrant workers from Tangail district attended the workshop.

Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU moderated the workshop and highlighted that the core source of providing services to the migrant workers is DEMO and we should work more to make it stronger, and Dr. Ali Ashraf, Lead Researcher of DEMO Study from RMMRU have shared the study outline and preliminary findings through a power point presentation.

Mr. Selim Reza, DG, BMET was the key speaker and stated DR. Abrar and Dr. Siddique from RMMRU have a high level of convening power on migration issues...they are close to our heart. The negative mind-set of government officers about CSOs has been shifting positively and we are now working with CSOs in partnership, thanks to RMMRU and PROKAS for partnering with us”. Moreover, Mr. Reza ensured all services including the arbitration process will be decentralized and transferred to the DEMO offices and stated they are working to bring labor migration services to the door-step.

Mr. Jabed Ahmed, Additional Secretary, MoEWOE raised the issue that the conception of general people regarding BMET is not positive and they are not satisfied with the services it provides. In this regard, he said, “we need to work on capacity building, consider the general mass’s concern and hire talented people”.
Mr. Abdul Hye, Additional General (Training), BMET said: “if it can be informed to the migrant workers that no extra fee will be charged for the finger print and online registration service then they will not hesitate to utilize this service”.

Mr. Tazul Islam Additional General (Employment), BMET, in order to reduce the hassle and better time management in migration process, directed the DEMO officials that they can introduce a token system, which will be provided to each migrant and they will stand in the line in the expected time as per the token number.
Mr. Nurul Islam, Director, Training, and Planning, BMET suggested that the complexities of migration process will be reduced if the bank’s working hour will start a bit earlier or online payment system can be introduced.

Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU after the whole discussion concluded the workshop with the expectation that more delegation of power from BMET to DEMO will happen and sufficient resources will be provided to the DEMOs so that they can operate properly.

Major Issues Identified: The main issues which were highlighted during the whole session were: there is a need of sufficient logistics support, the DEMOs should develop their infrastructure, the digitalization process should be accelerated in every district and the influence of middlemen should be reduced etc.

Recommendations: One of the suggestions came was whenever any complaint is filed along with dalal the recruiting agency should also held responsible. Furthermore, all the DEMOs should be brought under digitalization process so that they can operate effectively, and the mediation or arbitration system should be more flexible and less complicated so that people can get the actual benefit.

Capacity Building Training of RMMRC Members in Madaripur Legal Aid Association(MLAA)
Date: 22 July to 23 July 2017
Venue: Madaripur Legal Aid Association
Supported By: PROKAS and RMMRU
Organised By: Madaripur Legal Aid Association
 

Community-based mediation can increase rural people's access to justice as it can solve local disputes in a faster and cheaper way than the court. RMMRU is working with this objective with PROKAS, British Council to develop a formal way of mediation in local level with the help of FLM project. For this purposes, RMMRU planned to organize training for capacity building of RMMRU Migration Mediation Committee (RMMRC) members with assistance of MLAA to make the regulation of mediation more affective in grassroots level. To serve this goal the committee members attend a residential training for two days in Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA) on 22-23 July 2017 to learn more about mediation for ensuring proper application of mediation in grassroots levels to provide the access of justice of the affected migrants of fraudulence.

Agenda of the Training
 The main agenda of the training was capacity building of RMMRU Migration Mediation Committee.
 Learning of mediation process practically according to guidelines in proper way to provide justice to affected migrants

The participants of the training were 26 members of RMMC from two working areas of Tangail as well RMMRU head Office. Among them 9 members were women and rest were male members. Director Programme of RMMRU, Ms Marina Sultana attended the training for 1st day to settle the training group and observe the training. There were 7 resource persons who conducted the whole research. They were Advocate Khan Mohammad Shahid, Advocate Munir Hasan, Advocate Md .Ibrahim Mia, Advocate Subbrata Das, Advocate Moshiur Rahman, Advocate Shahbuddin Ahmed, Advocate Nasima Khatun was conducted the training to give proper information to RMMC to understand the mediation properly.

The main outcome of that Training were
• Capacity building of RMMC about mediation
• Learning to ensure effective mediation process in local level through practical knowledge of mediation organized by MLAA
• Learning the ways to offer free legal assistance to the poor in the formal local courts.
• knowledge about mediation related forms and documents, qualities of mediator, steps of mediation etc
• Learning to aware about the mediation system under Migration Act 2013.
• Facilitating the mediation in gender friendly, proper legal knowledge, and ensuring justice.
• Innovative and moderate approach to alternative dispute resolution.

Consultation on Fraudulence in Processing Migration
Organized by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 19 July 2017
Venue: Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, The University of Dhaka

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organized a consultation on fraudulence in processing migration on 19th July 2017 at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, The University of Dhaka. In order to focus on the fraudulence related to the migration process, RMMRU under the Prokas Prgramme of the British council has been conducting a research on the roles of dalals in the migration process. A field work was held in 9 villages of Paikora union and 11 wards of Elenga municipality. 300 households from each village/ward constituted the enumeration area and from the initial survey, RMMRU has found plenty of instances of fraud cases in the process of migration. The key objective of this consultation was to share the primary results of the survey and inform the people about the level of fraudulence in migration.

Mr. Jabed Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) chaired the consultation and Retd. Justice Mr. Nizamul Huq Nasim attended the programme as the Chief Guest. Mr. Benjir Ahmed, President, BAIRA and Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, IBP Manager, PROKAS, British Council, were the special guests of the session. Among discussants, Mr. K.M. Ali Reza, Deputy Chief, MoEWOE, Ms. Ferdousi Akhter, Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE, Mr. Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman Joint Secretary General, BAIRA, Dr. Mohammad Jalal Uddin Sikder, Assistant Professor, ULAB were present at the programme and shared their views along with opinions on this matter.

Moreover, various news and television media personnel, human rights activists, migrant survivors, victims of fraudulence and middlemen also attended the programme and put forward their opinions in this regard.
Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU, as the key note speaker, presented the initial findings of the survey in brief. Dr. Siddiqui discussed that 46.5% households of Paikora Union have at least 1 migrant and in Elenga one-third of the households were households of migrants. In three villages of Paikora union, non-migrant households were lower in number than migrant households. That leads to a belief that migration happens more often from rural areas compared to urban areas.

Moreover, the percentage of migration fraud is 51% among which 19% people faced fraudulence during the migration process. The other 32% people faced fraudulence and various degrading inhuman behavior while staying abroad. Due to this level of fraudulence, on one side people are facing financial loss and on the other side, the flow of remittance is decreasing in our country. In such circumstance, only the middlemen or dalas cannot be blamed, the government officials and recruiting agencies should also undertake necessary steps because through mediation the victims are getting only financial remedy but the middlemen are not served with proper punishments.
Mr. Jabed Ahmed, Additional Secretary, MoEWOE gave an opinion that skilled workers should be put into practice or utilized and in this regard, BAIRA can provide assistance so that they don't become the burden for us due to an unplanned migration. He also stated the importance of gathering data and information by RMMRU which will immensely help the process of making policies.

Justice Mohammad Nizamul Huq Nasim said that it is necessary to take proper steps to check deceitful activities from the migration process.
Mr. K.M Ali Reza, Deputy Chief, MoEWOE shared that the migrant workers often face difficulties abroad due to reasons such as workers going on tourists or student visas and not being able to avail the protection of Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013. Among other reasons a FnF syndrome was also identified which suggested that people trust their own relatives or familiar persons than agencies as a result are subjected to more fraudulent activities. He also focused on the fact that the new online system of recruiting is sure to reduce this FnF syndrome and for better functioning of the process the sub-agents need to be regularized.

Mr. Benjir Ahmed, President, BAIRA thinks that the institutions related to migration system, including BAIRA need to be more transparent and having an online system has helped to achieve that target a lot, as the aspirant migrants can now communicate directly rather than contacting the sub agents

Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, (IBP) Manager, PROKAS, British Council, believes that 60-70% of problems can be solved at the local level if recognition and a way of regulating the dalals were taken in hand. He also emphasized on giving a positive recognition to the recruiting agents who provide good services in the migration process. He suggested that a soft approach shall be taken rather than talking about tough laws and punishments.

Some other valuable opinions of the guests, discussants, attendees that were suggested in the consultation were:

- The weaknesses need to be identified as well as the situations that help the middleman to utilize against the migrants.
- In order for the report to be effective it has to be able to identify socio-economic and demographic data of the migrants, causes to migrate and identification of the middleman, the reasons to be fraudulent in the destination countries and the flaws in the process.
- The report shall also come up with recommendations defining the responsibilities of the State, Govt., Other agencies and moreover, responsibilities of the interested migrants.

Inception Meeting: Dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 27 April 2017, Dhaka
Venue: Conference Room, DG, BMET, Dhaka
 

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organized a dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 on 27 April 2017 at the Conference Room, BMET, Dhaka. Mr. Abdul Hai, acting DG, Mr. Dr. Nurul Islam Director, of BMET, Ms. Ferdousi Akhter Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE, Mr. Kazi Abul Kalam, NCTB enriched the dialogue and prescribed their opinion about mitigation the fraudulence in migration. Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, IBP Manager, British Council, Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman and Ali Haider Chowdhury, BAIRA, representative of national and international organizations were also present and provided their valuable opinion.

In the Programme panel discussant were Mr.Tazul Islam, Director (Employment), Advocate Barkat Ali, Supreme Court, BLAST, Advocate Md.Abu Raihan, Tangail Bar Council, Advocate Mr, Khan Mohammad Shahid, Madaripur Legal Aid, Mr.Reza Uddin, Chairman, Bangra Union, Tangail address the ways o the mediation process and its importance to migration sector. Focus area of the Programme were• Prosecution of Overseas Employment and Migration Law, 2013

• Rules of Law and middleman issue
• Online Complain System
• Arbitration Practices at community level
• Grievance Management System

A major achievement of the programme was to re-open the Online Complain Mechanism and handover it by Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair RMMRU Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, Head of Programmes, PROKAS, British Council and to Acting DG, Mr. Abdul Hai, and BMET. He thanked RMMRU and British Council for their support to reopen the digital complains system which will be helpful for migrants and their families to reduce hassles in migration services.

About this complain Ms. Ferdousi Akhtar, Deputy Secretary, Expatriates' Welfare Ministry stated that”

I am giving thanks for the starting of such challenging job. For their insightful step, there is a place build for complaining. As the Act has enacted in 2013, still the rules have not formed, in this situation the immigrants can complain at least at one place. It feels nice that for this affected migrants will get the chance of recovering.

Another vital task of the programme was to present the survey result of 3 unions of Tangail before going to provide legal support through the mediation process to mitigate the risk of fraudulence in migration system. Marina Sultana, Director, Programme shared a short survey finding through a PowerPoint presentation to understand the fraudulence situation and justice required by migrant survivors at the project location. In this survey it is seen that 87% people said they were deceived by a middleman, 10% said through relatives, friends and 3% said fraud by recruiting agency.

Ms. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui focused on the rules of law and middleman issues, mediation practices at community and the mitigation strategy under the law.

“We will try to mediate complains of affected migrants through mediation at the local level who doesn’t have enough documents to get justice. As we see that local middleman is responsible in this sector so they have to be identified. They are linked to some recruiting agencies but local people don’t know about the agency. So middlemen get accused of fraudulence. She suggested to include a clause in this Act where it is stated that the middlemen has to register with the recruiting agency and they would have an Identification Card and an institutional structure of Salish or mediation to ensure justice for affected migrants at grassroots level”

Some other suggestions also identified from the opinion of an honorable participant.There are

• Need to aware the Police administration about Migration Act 2013 so that they can support to migrants to file suit under this Act.
• The government has to follow some mechanism of arbitration and mediation as best practices and can apply for migrants services at local level. The people who are engaged with the mediation process, they need to get trained to get the best result out of the mediation system.
• Awareness should be made in order to knowing the differences between the travel agency, recruiting agency, Haj agency and massive awareness campaigning through electronic and print media
• TTC trainer have to provide information to potential migrants about this law when they provide pre-dicision and pre-diputure training
• In online Complain Machanism, only passport and smart card number submit option should have to introduce instead of scan copy of documents as community people don’t have enough facilities of using tools. Government should monitor this online complain system regularly.

Inception Meeting: Dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 25 April 2017, Tangail
Venue: Conference Room, DC Office, Tangail

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organized a dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 on 25 April 2017 at the Conference Room, DC office, Tangail under the Fairer Labour Migration Project supported by PROKAS, British Council. Mr. Md. Mahbub Hossain, DC, Tangail was the Chief Guest of the programme. Additional SP, Mr. Gobinda Chandra Paul, Mr. Abu Naser Uddin, UNO Kalihati, G.R. Sarwar, Assitant Commissioner Probashi Kollayan Desk, Md. Shahriar Rahman, Assistant Commissioner, Mustanzida parveen, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Mr, Kartik Debnath, AD, DEMO, Advocate Abdur Razzak, President, Tangail Bar Somiti, Advocate Abu Raihan, Tangail Bar Council. Ms. Rawshan Ara Lily, Executive Director, RPDO and other members of Local NGOS, affected migrants and their families were present in the programme involving women and socially excluded groups. They gave their opinion in protection of migrant’s rights and prosecution of Migration Act 2013. One of the major objectives of the programme was to introduce the project activities and expected support from respective officials in reducing the vulnerability of fraudulence in migration and protecting the rights of migrants. The dialogue also focused on the local mediation issues, its application in migration fraudulence to support the deceived migrants.

The dialogue programme moderated by Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui focused on Fraudulence by middleman in migration process, mediation practices for the benefit of affected migrants and the mitigation strategy under the law. Mr Mahbub Hossain, DC Tangail promised to support to mitigate the risk of fraudulence in migration. RMMRU shared a survey finding to understand the fraudulence situation and justice required by migrant survivors at project location. The report also stated the deceived migrants opinion how he/she wanted to mitigate the issues.
In this survey it is reflected that 87% of migrants were deceived by middleman, 10% through relatives, friends and 3% said fraud by recruiting agency. The report also stated the deceived migrants opinion how he/she wanted to mitigate the issues. Honorable Panel Discussant and other participants discussed about the legal services including the focusing areas:
• System of Mediation Practices under Migration Act 2013
• Nature of fraudulence cases reported to DEMO
• Experience of solving fraudulence cases through local government
• System of arbitration practices in BMET
• Experience of handling cases of fraudulence in migration in court
• Expectation of affected migrants in mediation through Grievance Management System (GMS).
• Experience sharing on local level mediation practices
• Prosecution of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013

Launching ceremony of "Untold Stories of Migrants: Dreams and Realities"
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 24 January 2017
Venue: Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka
Supported by: PROKAS Programme, British Council
 
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) launched the "Untold Stories of Migrants: Dreams and Realities", a book capturing migrants' voice. The programme was held on 24 January 2017 at the Senate Bhaban of the University of Dhaka, Dhaka.Mr. Mohammed Shahriar Alam, M.P., the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dr. Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, Judge, Supreme Court of Bangladesh was the Guest of Honour. Professor Perween Hasan, Vice-Chancellor, Central Women's University; Professor Fakrul Alam, Department of English, University of Dhaka; Mr. Md. Selim Reza, Additional Secretary and Director General, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), and Mr. Joel Harding, Governance Team Leader, DFID, British High Commission, Dhaka, Bangladesh offered their reflections on the book as Special Guests. Professor Sumaiya Khair of Department of Law, University of Dhaka, presided over the session while Ms. Munmun Rahman read out passages from the book.After the introduction by the Chair, the participants viewed the photos of migrants that were exhibited. After the session resumed the editor of the volume Professor Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU, introduced the contents highlighting negative and positive experiences of 150 migrants as narrated in the book. Their stories reiterate that migration is an extremely complex phenomenon, and that there is no single narrative of migrants. The stories have been collected by RMMRU over a period of 20 years.

The next section of the programme involved reading selected sections of the book. In one narrative a woman working in Kuwait learned how to care for her invalid employer, was treated well and now owns a tailoring shop; another woman who went to the UAE, prospered, and now wants to help “hapless widows”; another woman who went abroad, learned Hindi, married off her sisters and felt proud that she could provide for the family as the eldest daughter; and some other tales of success and failure.

In offering her thoughts Professor Perween Hasan observed that the stories were humane and touching. She was amazed to learn how little were the needs of the migrants and wondered why adequate support could not be provided to them. Professor Fakrul Alam stated that although Indian writers have been publishing on experiences of Indian diaspora for a long time, some winning prestigious awards, there was a palpable absence of stories of Bangladeshi migrants. This book is the first publication in that regard. He said the stories captured in the book have literary value. He recommended that other works like this should mix longer narratives on migrants’ life experiences with the shorter narratives present in the book, including those of Bangladeshi diaspora. Mr. Selim Reza felt that the stories have immense value for policy makers. Mr. Harding mentioned about the need for ‘collective action’ and ‘keeping the momentum’ alive in order to solve the problems of migrants. Justice Refaat Ahmed termed the stories as invaluable documentation. He said he would treat the volume as ‘case law’.

The Chief Guest State Minister Alam congratulated RMMRU and the editor for undertaking such important task. He commented that “it aptly captured the great achievements of our migrants and at the same time the pains and agonies they and their families endure… Some of the statements of the migrants reflect their true perceptions about migration and their analysis in loss and gain by economic as well as social indicators”. He said the book should be the first volume of a series of many. The Chief Guest reiterated that the Government is trying its best to streamline labour migration from Bangladesh by negotiating with host countries to make life better for migrants and looking for new labour markets. The State Minister further mentioned that the Government has recently enacted the ‘Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013’, and is also working hard to reduce transaction costs for sending remittances. He informed that recent bilateral negotiations will create opportunity for some 500,000-700,000 Bangladeshi migrants to be employed this year in Malaysia. The Government will be able to cut off the intermediaries (middlemen) by introducing an online visa system. He stated that the migrants should not change jobs without authorization. He also stated that over 100,000 Bangladeshi migrants are currently working illegally in Malaysia who will get temporary 2 year work passes as part of a deal between the two countries. These migrants will be able to return to Malaysia, legally, for more work once they have returned home too. The State Minister further observed that it is foolish to pay BDT 500,000 to a middleman to migrate. He also reassured that the Government is “keeping a close eye on violations of migrants’ rights in Oman and Qatar”, he said.

All the speakers acknowledged the role of migration in reducing poverty. They felt that the book is an invaluable collection to inform readers about the diverse experiences that migrants face. It will also be an important source for the policy makers to gain insights to develop practical policies. Among others, 150 academicians, researchers, government officials, members of civil society and migrants attended the ceremony. It got a huge coverage in electronic and print media. Below please find the media links: