Bangladesh has called for global solidarity and cooperation, and strong political will to address the challenges of migrants who are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe.
The country underscored that the pandemic has exposed, as well as exacerbated, the vulnerabilities of migrants as in many places they are denied their rights, access to urgent healthcare services, and even jobs.
"The migrants are frontline contributors – even during the pandemic in their host countries – and they must be included in response and recovery packages and plans," said Ambassador Rabab Fatima, permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations (UN).
Expressing her concern that migrants are also being forced to return, she mentioned that for many developing countries, managing the returnees is a huge concern and national efforts must be supported by the UN, other international development partners and stakeholders.
Rabab Fatima was recently addressing a virtual high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of Migration titled "Migration in the time of Covid-19: Migrant Health and Remittances."
Bangladesh is the co-convener of the Group of Friends of Migration along with Ireland, Mexico and Benin, a press release from the external publicity wing of the Bangladesh Foreign ministry read on Saturday.
The Minister of International Development and Diaspora of Ireland, Ciaran Cannon TD participated in the meeting, which was also attended by a considerable number of delegations at the ambassadorial level both from the migrants-hosting, as well as migrants-sending countries and Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Special Envoy for SDG Financing.
High level representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Health Organisation (WHO) and other UN agencies also participated in the event.
The speakers stated that the impacts of the pandemic on migration and remittances will affect developing countries severely.
Referring to the World Bank projection of about over 20 percent decline in remittances in the low and lower middle-income countries, Rabab Fatima warned that it would have drastic consequences, and would drive many remittance-receiving households in the developing world to poverty.
Ambassador Fatima welcomed the secretary general's brief on the "People on the Move" highlighting the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 on migrants.
In addition, she welcomed the Joint Call to Action on Remittances in Crisis by Switzerland and the UK that recognizes the importance of keeping remittance flowing to the home countries despite the likely Covid-19 induced recessions.
Ambassador Fatima reiterated that the international community must work on re-creating conditions for continuity of migrant workers' contribution to economies and societies, and anything contrary to that will lead to the rise of illegal migration and human trafficking.