Dr Nomita Halder, acting secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, has called on UN agencies concerned to find a mechanism to ensure the safety and security of female migrant workers, especially in the Middle East.
Nomita was addressing a discussion titled "National Consultation on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration" at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Dhaka on Thursday.
She also lauded the government's measures to facilitate the sending of female migrants.
“We are now sending more women migrant workers as a result of the government's initiatives in this regard,” Nomita said.
She added that it was a "tragic point of our migration governance" that these women were not completely protected.
“Most of the female workers from Bangladesh are employed as domestic help in the Middle East and they are not really safe,” she said, adding that she herself has been urging the UN agencies concerned to step forward in ensuring safety for female migrant workers .
Talking about the repatriation of Bangladeshi migrants from Europe, she urged the European countries not to send them back unless they return home voluntarily.
She also said that, aiming to ensure safe and secure migration, the ministry is planning to revisit the Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013, so that loopholes in the existing law can be addressed.
“Taking advantage of loopholes in the law, many people are exploiting our migrant workers. We are considering solutions to the problem, which is one of our main priorities,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Shahidul Haque talked about the need for the compact for safe, orderly and regular migration to be conceptualided as a ‘‘legal instrument comprising laws, norms, mechanisms, provisions and practices aimed at assisting states and other stakeholders in governing migration, ensuring rights of migrants and for the benefit of all.”