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Hasina tells world leaders

New partnership needed to tackle migration issue

22 September 2016 bdnews24.com

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon UN member states to take a new path of constructive cooperation. She observed that the international community had struggled to govern migration effectively 'for far too long'.

She also urged the international community, through an opinion piece, to consider "new partnerships" in addressing migration and large movements of people to keep up with the rapidly changing geopolitical conditions. "The time has come to set the world on a new path of constructive cooperation, instead of populists' preferred path of destructive unilateralism," she wrote in Project Syndicate, known as world's opinion page where prominent political leaders and policymakers write. The prime minister also urged UN member states to acknowledge the gap between their pledges of last year and the harsh realities many migrants and refugees continue to face today. More than 4,300 migrants have died this year trying to reach their destinations.
In the Mediterranean Sea alone, 3,200 people have perished, and in the Andaman Sea, just east of the Bay of Bengal, thousands of migrants have been stranded on boats with nowhere to land, or have been held hostage by their traffickers. Hasina's write-up was posted on the day of the UN summit on migration and refugees in New York on Sep 19 when she called for global consensus to protect the rights of migrants and refugees.

Bangladesh spearheads migration issues at the global level as it is the current chair of the Global Forum for Migration and Development or GFMD. Dhaka has always made a pitch for a new governance mechanism for migration as the current mechanism was developed at the end of World War II, considering the perspectives of the time.

In those days, after the war, there were mostly refugees, not migrants. Now the perspective has changed. The world has now more migrants than refugees. Besides, migrants are becoming refugees and refugees are becoming migrants. The issue also received global attention after the recent migration crisis.

The prime minster highlighted the benefits of migration and said these benefits are "easily squandered" if migration is not governed "responsibly and cooperatively", as the world has seen in the recent crisis.

She said without global governance institutions and legal frameworks to guide international cooperation, most countries must resort to "unilateral" management of their own migration flows.

"When states fail to govern migration effectively, they create a vacuum that is filled by unscrupulous actors: smugglers, traffickers, and organized-crime. Meanwhile, countries, migrants, and host communities all lose out as they bear the costs of migration without realizing its benefits," she said. At last year's UN General Assembly summit, world leaders promised to cooperate on ensuring safe, orderly, regular, and responsible migration.

"This year, they need to do more to realise that pledge," she said as in this year's summit world leaders for the first time will make a "political commitment" for a better international response to the challenges emerging from large movements of people around the globe. She also criticised the UN for "falling short" of providing effective support to member states, migrants, and the societies that host them.

"Its member governments need to agree on universal principles to establish an international framework for dealing with migration, and the UN itself should make governance of migration one of its central missions, rather than scattering the task across different agencies," she wrote. "We need only recognise that migration benefits us all to maximize the gains and minimize the pain," she said, adding that effective migration governance requires "institutional and legal frameworks that can reconcile sometimes conflicting considerations."

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