The district administration, various government agencies and representatives from partner development organisations came together to observe the International Migrants Day (IMD) on Wednesday with the motto ‘We Together’.
The international theme for IMD this year is ‘social cohesion’ and the national theme in Bangladesh is ‘skills’. The UN General Assembly chose 18 December as IMD on 4 December 2000.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, helped the Cox’s Bazar district administration and Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) to organise multiple events to mark the day.
Cox’s Bazar is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas forcibly displaced from Myanmar. More than 840,000 of them arrived since 2017.
The day’s programme started with a grand rally. Later, a seminar held at the DC office saw speakers highlight the needs of Bangladeshi migrants and the importance of remittances in economic development.
Cox’s Bazar’s additional deputy commissioner (ADC revenue) Mohammad Ashraful Afsar noted that some 11.7 million Bangladeshis are currently living abroad, often having migrated through unsafe, irregular channels.
“We have to sensitise our people at grassroots level on the importance of safe and legal migration, on the need for skills development and on the positive impact of remittances,” he said.
Last year, Bangladesh became one of top 10 remittance-receiving countries, with more than $15.5 billion sent from various countries by Bangladeshi citizens.
This year alone, about 614,000 people went abroad.
“We should put an eye on migration benefits and inspire individuals to use it within the proper legal channels,” he said.
IOM Bangladesh deputy chief of Mission Manuel Pereira said their intention is to foster recognition that migration is a benefit that works for all. “Today we celebrate the positive aspects of migration,” Pereira said.
ADC Ashraful, later, handed over prizes to winners of different competitions held among the students marking the day.
IOM also organised 18 film screenings as part of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) along with a photo-exhibition and a three-day art workshop. A football match for social cohesion was also arranged in Teknaf with the participation of the local and Rohingya communities.