March 26, 2019

International Migration, a challenge

By Roy Lie Atjam.

The Hague, 19 February 2018 – The day the Hon. Shahidul Haque
Foreign Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh delivered a discourseentitled “Global compact for migration (Governance?): issues zero draft and the way forward” at Erasmus University – ISS The Hague.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, was on a trip that took him to the USA and Europe.

Mr. Haque obtained an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, USA (1988) He also holds a Masters in Social Welfare from the University of Dhaka.

Mr. Shahidul Haque has been serving as Foreign Secretary since 2013. He was the Chair of the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

He is an Independent Expert to the UN Committee on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) for the term 2014-2017 and has recently been re-elected for another 4-year term (2018-2021)

After a cordial welcome, Institute of Social Studies ISS Dr. Des Gasper, Professor of Human Development, Development Ethics and Public Policy, introduced the guest-speaker Mr. Shahidul Haque and the theme of his discourse.

Mr. Shahidul Haque elaborated on his presentation entitled
Global compact for migration (Governance?) issues zero draft and the way forward.

Shahidul Haque is, by all means, an authority on International Migration, he mesmerized his audience which was made-up of academics, students, special invitees and Ambassadors from countries such as Malaysia, Bangladesh, South Korea to name a few.

Shahidul Haque laments the fact that to date there is no global regime to deal with migration. Migration is a hot international item. A good 258 million migrants are currently on the move worldwide. De facto, people are vulnerable when on the move. Access to resources and power mostly determine vulnerability.

Haque recognizes migratory flows, mixed migration – mixed drivers: work, human trafficking, displacement and refugees. Further, migrationis a circular movement and not one that runs from A to B as was once thought by some..
Governance, four prominent challenges are facing states, sovereignty, protection, security, human rights, capacity and resources.
How could they be addressed effectively?

As for the zero draft dated 5 Feb. 2018, it resulted in a ten guiding framework and twenty-two objectives/actionable commitments.
It further declares compact would be non-legally binding, no reference to the 1990 migration convention, no reference to governance and a tremendously vague implementation.The action required, Shahidul Haque proposes among others, a global leadership for an ambitious, balanced and rights-based compact.

Compact must be a political and normative instrument.

Mr. Shahidul Haque briefly touched on the effects of global climate change, the Havana declaration, the Rohingya refugees.

The government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is resolved to deal with the influx of Rohingya refugees despite her population of 160 million. Solidarity and fraternity compel Bangladesh to react in this manner. The Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reminded her compatriots of the days when several million Bangladeshi nationals took up refuge in India.

Mr. Shahidul Haque recounts, some Bangladeshi women became devastated after listening to Rohingya women of whom some had been raped 19 times in one day.

It has been a revealing delivery and a tremendous pleasure listening to the migration savvy that Mr. Shahidul Haque is.

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