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Dhaka Tribune

Hollow gestures will not keep our overseas workers safe

Gulf nations, especially the UAE, are some of the biggest recipients of Bangladeshi manpower

Update : 28 Dec 2022, 11:14 PM

Bangladesh owes a lot to its overseas workers. As the second biggest driver of our economy, remittance earned by our overseas workers has played an essential role in the continued development of our country since independence. Bangladesh, as it stands, has been built on the backs of these hard working men and women, who leave their families and travel far from home to be able to earn a living.

Which is why it is all the more disappointing to know how our country has been able to do so little for them for so long in return.

It is well known now that Gulf nations, especially the UAE, are some of the biggest recipients of Bangladeshi manpower. These nations have storied histories of denying basic human rights and even abusing their workers, and there are innumerable accounts of our overseas workers being subjected to horrible working conditions, unpaid wages, and even outright abuse, both physical and mental.

While it is in our country's best interests to be able to send our workers to these destinations, it would behoove the administration to have more conviction regarding their protection from foreign employers.

Given that worker abuse in these nations is still as high as ever, clearly our embassies are failing to protect their own countrymen.

To that end, the recent announcement of the government approving a dedicated day to honour our overseas workers comes across as nothing more than mere lip service. While the sentiment behind the day is earnest as each and every one of our overseas workers deserves to be recognized for their hard work -- more so apropos of what they have to go through -- unless backed by stern action by our administration to ensure their safety and security, such commemorations will always ring hollow.

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