Obhibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) has arranged a day-long program to celebrate International Migrants Day 2020 in Base Training Center, Sonargaon, Naraganganj, on 18th December 2020. With national anthem and a commemoration remembering our martyrs of 1971, and sacrifices of our migrant workers amid this Coronavirus pandemic, the program started at 10:00 am in the morning and ended at 03:00 pm followed by lunch and cultural program.
The program’s discussion topic was the international slogan of the day—“Reimagining Human Mobility” followed by the discussion on our national slogan—“Mujibborsher Ahoban Dokkho Hoye Bidesh Jan (মুজিব বর্ষের আহ্বান দক্ষ হয়ে বিদেশ যান).”
The program started with a humble note on migrants’ contribution to our country considering their hard work, sufferings, and sacrifice. The Chief guest K.M. Ali Reza, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, said, “Remittance is not the only concern of migration. Bangladesh Government is working to establish migrant workers’ rights too. But, it is the other stakeholders—civil societies and NGOs, have to work relentlessly to establish the rights of migrant workers in the country”.
Shakirul Islam, Chairperson, OKUP said, “IMD is an important day for our migrants’ workers and Bangladesh social and economic integration. This day is a way to establish access to justice and rights of migrant workers.” He further sheds light on this year’s slogan and the responsibilities of the government to make sure the skill migration is ensured. The government should consider the human trafficking issue in Bangladesh, only then fair and safe migration is possible.
From the very beginning of OKUP, it has worked for and with the migrant workers all over the country. This Corona crisis has been a tough time for migrant workers. Our government should come forward and take more effective steps in its progress.
By maintaining social distancing OKUP has successfully celebrated this day with the support of its’ working force.
Omar Faruque Chowdhury, Executive Director, OKUP, was a migrant worker himself, said, “It is our day. We will share our experiences here. I am proud of our migrant worrier.” Therefore, he invited returnee migrant workers on stage to share their experiences and expectations.
Farzana Begum, a returnee migrant worker shared, “I have suffered a lot by the recruiting agency. I went to Jordan as a machine operator in garments and returned empty-handed after one year without any salary amid this Coronavirus pandemic. I only had initial few months’ salary.”
OKUP’s Vice Chairperson Shamsunnahar highlighted the deprivation of migrant workers and the difficult times of the Coronavirus pandemic and appealed to the Prime Minister to accept the demands of the migrant workers for a healthy and normal life, inclusion in the national safety net, and ensuring fair and ethical recruitment.
The aim of this program was to present the awareness messages of skill migration through discussion and exchange of opinions. Celebration of International Migrants Day is a great medium to express gratitude towards migrant workers hard work and sacrifice. To celebrate the day OKUP employees, returnee migrants, and government officials were present at the event.