Home in 3 days | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 21, 2011

On Tunisia-Libya border

Home in 3 days

Minister visits camp, assures of quick repatriation

Bangladeshi workers line up beside a road in Tunisia near the Libya-Tunisia border to hear from their Minister for Labour and Employment Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain. Photo: Morshed Ali Khan

Morshed Ali Khan writes from the spot where thousands of Bangladeshi workers have taken shelter after fleeing the Libyan upheaval
All stranded Bangladeshis at the Choucha camp in Tunisia would be flown home within the next three days, said Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain during a brief visit to the camp yesterday.
The visit was the first by a top Bangladesh government representative since the crisis started.
As the Bangladeshi repatriation process slowed down drastically, hundreds of stranded Bangladeshis crowded around the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office yesterday morning asking everyone when their names would be called for repatriation. At one point, several hundred people stood by the main road waiting for the visiting Bangladeshi minister to tell them when exactly they would be going home.
Mosharraf on is arrival said Biman flights would start today to take the 2,100 Bangladeshis home from Choucha camp. The IOM would also help with the repatriation, he said.
When asked about IOM fund constraint, the minister said the Government of Bangladesh has paid the IOM for the repatriation. When asked how much money the government paid, he replied that the amount was as much as it was required.
Despite repeated text messages to the chief IOM spokesperson in Geneva, Jean Philippe Chauzy, the minister's claim could not be verified.
As the 2,100 Bangladeshis waited to go home, about 65 Bangladeshis entered Tunisia from Libya at the Ras Jdir border yesterday. Among them, a family of four, including two minor children.
Yar Ahmed Harun has lived in Surman, 70km from Tripoli, for the last 20 years living on his own business. He said he owned a shop and ran a smooth business there. As soon as the possible air strikes were announced recently, he decided to flee with his wife and two children.
“I have left behind my life's savings and everything in the shop and at home,” he said. “A Libyan friend drove us to the border and we did not have any problem crossing over,” said Harun. At Choucha camp Harun was given a decent tent within the boundary of the IOM office.
The news of bombings by allied forces in Libya worried Bangladeshis in the camp. “We know lots of Bangladeshis, including several hundred female nurses, still left behind in Libya... the government must look into the matter with urgency,” said Abdus Samad Mukul, of Monirampur, Jessore, who had been working in Libya for the last 22 months.
Most Bangladeshis at the Choucha camp had the same tale of deprivation behind going to Libya and then confinement by middlemen, exploitation and then having to leave Libya without being paid for months of labour.

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone and Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News