On February 11, 2011 the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) supported by UNDP hosted a consultative workshop on the NHRC's role in protecting the rights of migrant workers, at the National Academy for Planning and Development in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni inaugurated the workshop. In her speech, she spoke of the different measures taken by the government in protecting and promoting the rights of the migrant workers such as issuing smart cards and organizing training for workers. She appreciated the work of NHRC and stated that it can have an important role in raising awareness on irregular migration and its consequences. She encouraged the Commission to coordinate its efforts with national NGOs and regional human rights institutions for a better protection of the rights of migrant workers.
UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Stefan Priesner participated in the inaugural discussion where he said that migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation, and are often without adequate legal and social measures that afford them protection. Positive action is needed to ensure the respect of their rights and the elimination of discriminatory practices. He reaffirmed UNDP`s commitment to assisting the NHRC in its institutional development and in fulfilling its mandate in this and other areas.
Also speaking in the inaugural session, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Mizanur Rahman said that Bangladeshi citizens working without legal status often do not work in decent conditions and that NHRC is determined to work for safe migration and the promotion of the rights of migrant workers. He highlighted the purpose of the workshop as a way to identify potential NGOs, civil societies and individuals who will help build a coalition and cooperate on the issue.
Nearly 100 attendees participated in the workshop representing different stakeholders, including NGOs, government officials, representatives from the civil society and the private sector, donors, lawyers and students from the faculty of Law.