POST TIME: 12 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
Want to support all vulnerable Rohingyas, says IOM DG

Want to support all vulnerable Rohingyas, says IOM DG

A fairly significant number of Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh since the violence in the Myanmar’s Rakhine state began in October following the killing of nine Myanmar border guard police, International Organisation for Migration Director General William Lacy Swing said yesterday. “In terms of undocumented Myanmar nationals, who entered the territory of Bangladesh, I think for the official figure you have to ask your government. It is fairly significant number,” he told reporters yesterday, the second day of the three-day ninth summit of the Global  Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). When asked if he considers this as a crisis, Swing said, “We have to leave this question to the two governments (Bangladesh and Myanmar). We are humanitarian organisation and it would not be appropriate for me to get involved in the political aspect.” “Our effort is to support all persons who are vulnerable particularly in Cox’s Bazar area. We are working closely with local officials to assist not only those who entered recently but also those who live there,” he said.
To a question regarding migration cost, the IOM chief executive said that in many cases it is seen that the migration costs accounts for salaries of one or two years of the migrant.
The cost migration should be borne by the hiring companies, he noted. Swing revealed that a project involving IOM, International Labour Organisation and International Employers Association has been undertaken to fix a set of standards for the recruiting agencies.
Those who will abide by those standards will be recognised and they will be able to send people abroad and those who will not comply will be out of business, he added. The IOM chief also found remittance cost high and said that in some cases the remittance cost is 10 to 15 per cent.
The objective of the IOM is to bring it down to below 3 per cent and a pilot project has been undertaken which will enable migrants to send remittance through post offices where costs will be minimal, he said. Swing said that at present migrants are not covered by any legal framework. A feeling exists that there is a need for some kind of undertaking or commitment by the governments and the people to assist and help people on the move especially the vulnerable ones, he said.
“I think we are talking about something that would be approved by the governments at an inter-governmental forum no later than 2018,” Swing added.
Meanwhile, while briefing journalists, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, the chair of GFMD 2016, said that six roundtables and three side events were held on the second day of the summit. It was discussed as to how the cost of migration could be reduced along with a new theme proposed by Bangladesh ‘migration and connectivity’, he said, adding that to address the issue of connectivity the consular mechanism and visa regime will have to be revisited. The foreign secretary also said that the participants discussed economics, sociology and governance of migration and the summary of the discussions will be sent to the United Nations Secretary-General. On the migration cost, he said that both the sending and receiving countries have responsibilities in this regard.
Haque also informed that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) every year publishes a report on global development and this year’s focus was on migration. “This year they launched it here in Bangladesh today (Sunday),” he said.
On the global migration compact proposed by Bangladesh, the top diplomat of the country said, “It will be negotiated. But, the question is what type of compact it will be. Will it be binding or non-binding?”  “Preliminary discussions are on whether it will be a law. Many countries do not yet want to talk about it,” he said.