11 June 2014, Dhaka. Speakers on consultation appealed to abolish Kafala and demanded as it is a global agenda on protection of migrant rights in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). National Alliance for Migrant’s Rights Bangladesh (NAMR,B) organised a national consultation today morning on “Kafala violating migrant’s rights: Can FIFA help to abolish?” in BRAC centre auditorium, Dhaka.
Speakers highlighted on Qatar’s promises to review its labour laws, especially the kafala or sponsorship system, which is found in GCC states.
Ms. Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity, and Migration Programme presented the key note paper and appealed to unite and raise the global voice to abolish the kafala system on Behalf of NAMR, B. She highlighted the exploitation that faced by the migrants in GCC due to Kafala system.
Ms Rina Roy, Director, Manuser Jonno Foundation, stated about the importance of nation-wide campaign on Kafala issue. She also added, we need to follow the good example from Nepal for doing effective advocacy on Kafala.
Mr Kazi Abul Kalam, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said, Bangladesh government is continuously working to protect the rights of migrants workers, the government is also engaged in Colombo process (an alliance of labour sending countries) and Abu Dhabi Dialogue on Kafala to work more effectively.
Mr. Md. Golam Mustafa Khan, Joint Secretary, BMET stated that they are receiving more than 150 cases on rights violation per day. He stated that most of them from GCC countries. He mentioned that government raised the issue in global forum.
Speakers at the consultation targeted to advocate for the protection of the migrants workers through FIFA. In the consultation discussants and participants recognised that Qatar FIFA World cup is an opportunity for Bangladeshi migrant workers. Qatar is the host for FIFA world cup 2022. Since Qatar has a plan to invest more than USD 220 billion in infrastructure development for hosting the world cup, it will be needing huge overseas employees. They also highlighted that Qatar became the second largest destination for Bangladeshi workers this year. So this is the right moment for Bangladesh to advocate for the migrant’s rights.
A cross section of people including government, academics, journalists, lawyers, rights and development activists as well as members of national and international organisations were present at the consultation.