Safe passage for migrants sought


International migrant rights activists at a global forum on migration and human rights in Dhaka yesterday observed that migrants and refugees seeking safe routes through international borders should be allowed to move and provide necessary assistances to ensure their human rights.

Expressing concern over the emergences of far-right political parties, they said the refusals at the international borders are causing serious violations of rights of the migrants and refugees.

They made these remarks on the first day of a two-day Peoples' Global Action (PGA) Forum on Migration, Development and Human Rights titled “Mobilized and On the Move: Migrants Changing the World!” held in Dhaka University's Lecture Theatre building.

Preeda Tongchumnum, programme manager of Solidarity Centre, which works with migrants and refugees in Thailand, observed that the migrant jobseekers from some South and Southeast Asian countries were forced to leave their countries seeking safer places. “Myanmar's Rohingyas were migrating to Thailand after conflicts in their country…,” she said.

Catherine Tacaquin, executive director for the US-based National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights, said, “Border restrictions and lack of humanitarian and immigration visas for safe passage, motivate migrants to pay smugglers to guide and facilitate their journeys, further subjecting them to potential dangers. It is especially challenging for women and girls, who often face physical threats and abuse, including rape.”

Maria Angela Villalba, executive director of Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Foundation, in the Philippines, said the rights of the migrants and children in the destination countries were being violated.

The civil societies must be united to ensure the migrants' and refugees' rights, said Jille Belisario, campaign and programme coordinator of Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers in Netherlands.

Over 300 people convened at the programme to discuss on borders and detention, climate and migration, global governance on migration, labour migration and recruitment reform, mixed migration, and xenophobia and racism.  

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