Bangladesh: Trade unions reiterate rights-based approach at GFMD

 The Global Compact on Migration provides unions a unique opportunity to contribute effectively in shaping the future of global governance on migration

The 2016 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) was held from 8-12 December in Dhaka (Bangladesh), the first such forum take place since the adoption of last year’s UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also follows the September 2016 UN High-Level Meeting to address the large movement of refugees and migrants, and is a key stepping stone on the road to developing a Global Compact on Migration by 2018. 

“The Global Compact on Migration provides unions a unique opportunity to contribute effectively in shaping the future of global governance on migration,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “Migrant workers across the world are hungry to secure their rights, and an effective policy framework at both the global and national level is critical to enable this.” 

“Migration is a decent work issue, but it also raises important questions around the use of migration as a model for economic development. As well as protecting workers’ rights, challenging exploitation and ensuring a decent livelihood, we need to be asking questions around how sustainable this model is and whether it actual creates decent lives for the majority.” 

More than 200 civil society delegates from over 50 countries attended during the Civil Society Days of the GFMD held on 8-10 December 2016. They were joined by over 250 participants of the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA), held on 6-7 December 2016 under the title “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration in our communities and across borders”. The event gave an opportunity to discuss on implementing people-centered and rights-based policies on migration and human development. 

The BWI underlined the need to strongly address workers’ rights issues in the session on Global Supply Chains on 9 December 2016. The International Framework Agreements negotiated by BWI with multinational companies were cited as good examples of agreements that can promote ethical labour practices across supply chain operations. 

On 5 December 2016 Karnan Ramamurthy, President of the Indian National Rural Labour Federation (a BWI affiliate) addressed the plenary session of the Asian Civil Society Day (ACSD). “We are witnessing growing worldwide economic disparity, political transformations and unrests coupled with rise in extremism in parts of the world. Our movement is increasingly being confronted by anti-migrant sentiments and xenophobia. The need for coordinated and collective action globally has never been greater”.   

The BWI along with other Global Union Federations – UNI, PSI, EI and IDWF took part in this year’s GFMD events at Dhaka. A 13-member BWI delegation from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines attended the GFMD related events this year.