They continue to be subjected to abysmal working conditions
Mohammad Rayhan Kabir, the migrant worker who dared raise his voice against the dismal conditions expats were facing in Malaysia during the Covid-19 lockdown, has been deported to Bangladesh. This was a man who had the courage to speak up against injustice, but ultimately paid the price by having his livelihood taken away.
While it is a relief that he was not charged and put behind bars, and credit must go towards all who ensured that he had a safe return home, this does not change the fact that he was convicted and deported for simply telling the truth.
And the truth is this: Bangladesh’s migrant workers face extremely dire living and working conditions in order to earn their livelihood and send money back to the country.
While there are organizations working on behalf of our expats, it appears that we continue to fail them, and they continue to be subjected to abysmal working conditions.
We must also keep the current pandemic in mind: Like Rayhan Kabir, thousands of migrant workers will find themselves forced to come back home with no employment and no source of income. Their future as contributors to the Bangladeshi economy must be considered, so that they may sustain themselves and their families.
Bangladesh owes a great deal of gratitude to its migrant workers, who collectively make up the second largest earners of foreign currency for the economy after the RMG sector and, as such, have quite literally earned the right to receive stronger support from their country.
As Bangladesh inches towards middle-income status, it must do a better job of protecting its workers abroad and ensuring that their rights as workers and as people are protected, no matter where they are in the world.