The government has taken zero tolerance policy against illegal migration, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said today.
“Our government will not tolerate any illegal practices in migration,” the state minister said at Brac Migration Media Award 2018 event at the Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka.
“Even a single case of harassment and a life lost is important... one success story of reaching Europe illegally cannot be an example [for others to follow],” the state minister said.
He suggested that those who had gone to Libya with the ultimate purpose of reaching Europe illegally should be brought under law.
The state minister said Bangladesh stopped sending Bangladeshis to Libya in 2014 because of civil wars there, yet some people went there, knowing well what was happening in Libya and the Mediterranean.
Some 40 Bangladeshis were feared dead and 15 were rescued from the Mediterranean on May 9 when a boat carrying nearly 80 people were crossing the sea to reach Europe.
“We don’t encourage illegal migration. Therefore, we signed an agreement with the European Union and are repatriating and reintegrating the irregular migrants from Europe,” Shahriar Alam said.
He has advised local journalists to investigate and identify the middlemen who are duping the overseas jobseekers and finally leaving them in danger.
EU Acting Head of Cooperation in Bangladesh Doerte Bosse said EU does not want to stop migration but dangerous and unprotected migration.
She said EU, therefore, is working with IOM and Brac to return and reintegrate irregular Bangladeshi migrants and create awareness against illegal migration.
Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique, former vice chancellor of Dhaka University, said the government should focus more on the welfare of the migrants.
“They should get more respect and dignity at home…their health and education should get more priority,” the former VC said.
He suggested that media work in way that common people are not defrauded. He also demanded more allocation of resources for the farmers, readymade garment workers and migrant workers, who are the backbone of the country’s economy.
Brac Acting Executive Director Asif Saleh has suggested that the Bangladesh embassies abroad are equipped with more resources to better help the migrants in trouble.
He said migrant voices remain unheard and the journalists are the ones who can give voice to them.
IOM Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri said while there are negative aspects of migration, there are also a lot of positive stories that need to be highlighted too.
Shariful Hasan, head of Brac’s Migration Programme, in a presentation said that return of migrants, especially women migrants from the Middle East after facing abuses dominated media reporting last year.
This means it is important for the government to take up reintegration and rehabilitation programme for the abused returnee migrants, he said.
Brac recognizes 13 journalists
Brac has recognised 13 journalists for their quality reporting last year. They include Owasim Uddin Bhuyan of New Age, Porimol Palma of The Daily Star, Arafat Ara of The Financial Express and Shafi Chowdhury of Dainik Jalalabad in Sylhet (regional newspaper).
The awardees in TV news category are Mezbahul Islam of Independent, Meraz Hossain Gazi of Banglavision and Morshed Hasib Hasan of Channel 24. Boni Amin of Independent Television got the award in TV programme category.
The awardees in radio category are Md Mostafizur Rahman of Bangladesh Betar. In online category, the awardees include Imrul Kayes of Priyo.com, Abdullah al Hossain of bdnews24.com and Saddif Sohrab of Bangla Tribune. ATN Bangla Director (debate) Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron got the award in blog/opinion category.