Participants at a webinar on ‘Challenges of Bangladeshi Self-Organizations in Europe – Integration and Development’ organized by the South Asian Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany, on 23 July opined that migrants have huge potentialities, expertise and are essential strategic partners in the field of migration and development. Underscoring the role of the migrant organizations, they said, active participation of the migrant organizations is needed in generating ideas and policy insight.
The webinar held under the Bangladesh Lecture series ‘Bangladesh Studies-Culture, Politics and Migration’ was inaugurated by Prof Dr Hans Harder of South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, while Mr A R Khan, Consultant, Competence Centre Municipal Conflict Counselling gave a brief description of the Institute’s project ‘Transnational Identity Networks in the Bangladeshi Diaspora and Integration’. Dr Wolfgang-Peter Zingel of South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, introduced the main speaker of the Lecture program Bikash Chowdhury Barua, founding Chairman of BASUG. Prof. Dr Dieter Reinhardt of the South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, presided over the event. The meeting was also participated among others by Aniruddha Kar of the South Asian Institute, UK BASUG Country Coordinator Ansar Ahmed Ullah, BASUG Bangladesh Country Coordinator Biman Barua Chowdhury, Project Director of BASUG Germany AHM Abdul Hai and Tobias Pabel from Italy.
In his speech, BASUG Chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua said international migration has today become one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. While the flow of migration across the world is rising, the receiving countries are becoming more and more negative about migration and adopting measures to discourage migration, especially from the developing countries. Products can move freely from one country to another, from the East to the West but not the human being. He added that it could bring more financial benefit to the world economy if migration could be appropriately managed. Quoting a report, BASUG Chairman said the modest relaxation of restrictions on the movement of labour could yield a benefit of 300 billion US $ for the developing world.
BASUG chair further said migrants are not only the Remittance-senders, but they also play a vital role at both ends-home and abroad. The total amount of remittance sent by migrants in 2020 was $702 billion. On the other hand, he continued, Bangladeshi migrants sent 14 billion in 2020, which is a fall by 25% compared to the previous year, due to COVID. As a result, their contribution to BD GDP is 12% in 2020. But at the same time, Bikash Chowdhury reminded the participants that the migrants, in most cases, are not well-organized, most migrants organizations lack capacity, they are divided on Bangladeshi politics and very few are involved with mainstream politics, lives in ghettos. Moreover, many of them have language problems and lack access to government funding in host countries. BASUG chairman underscored the need for actions to counter the negative narratives and criminalization of migrants and migration, highlight the best practices of the migrants at both ends, bring the diverse interests in the migration system into dialogue and encourage cross-sectoral collaboration and foster a global network of change agents.
In the discussion, there were questions from the participants to BASUG Chairman on different issues such as radicalization among the Bangladeshi migrant youth in Europe, obsession with Bangladeshi politics in the host countries, differentiation between diaspora and migrants, the role of the second-generation migrants etc. Different stakeholders from Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, U.K., Sweden and Bangladesh took part in the two-hour-long lecture programme.