World marks International Migrants Day

Over last 20 years global migration numbers climbed from 150 million to 272 million, says report by IOM

Islamuddin Sajid   | 18.12.2019
World marks International Migrants Day UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres


UN member states on Wednesday marked the annual International Migrants Day under the theme "We Together."  

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said in a message marking the day that all migrants are entitled to equal protection of their human rights.

"On this International Day, I urge leaders and people everywhere to bring the Global Compact to life, so that migration works for all," Guterres said in a statement.

According to a new report by the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), over the last 20 years the number of global migrants has ballooned from 150 million to 272 million.

More than half of all the migrants -- an estimated 141 million -- lived in Europe and North America.

"India has the largest numbers of migrants around 17.5 million living abroad, followed by Mexico 11.8 million and China with 10.7 million," the IOM report says.

The report show that 31 million children worldwide are migrants, including 13 million refugees and 17 million children displaced due to conflicts and violence inside their countries.   

Rising tide of refugees

According to the report, the numbers of refugees also rose from 14 million to 25.9 million over last two decades due to conflicts and climate change in many countries of the world.

Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees around 3.7 million, following by Pakistan with 1.4 million registered refugees.

On Tuesday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland that Turkey has carried the responsibility for the refugees alone for nine years on behalf of the international community.

“I am not saying this as the president of a country far from conflicts and irregular migration. According to UN figures, I am the president of a country that hosts the most asylum seekers in the world,” said Erdogan.

Turkey is currently hosting 5 million refugees and has never forcefully repatriated any of them, he added.

Also speaking at the forum, Pakistani Premier Imran Khan said that his country was born out the biggest refugees problem in the history of mankind.

"I am very proud to say that Pakistan hosted at one point 4 million refugees. And still, after 40 years, Pakistan still has 1.4 million registered refugees," said Khan. 

International remittances rise

According to the World Bank report, the annual flow of remittances to low- and middle-income countries -- often from migrant workers to their home countries -- reached $529 billion in 2018, up 9.6% from the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017.

India, China and Mexico remained the top three remittance recipient countries, getting $181.7 billion annually. The U.S. remained the top remittance-sending country with $68 billion followed by the UAE with $44.4 billion.  

Internal displacement

Internal displacement due to violence and conflict also rose in many countries to 41.3 million people.

Syria remained the hardest-hit country, with 6.1 million people displaced, followed by Colombia with 5.8 million and the Democratic Republic of Congo with 3.1 million, IOM said in its report.

The number of stateless people also reached 3.9 million with Bangladesh with around 90,600 stateless persons, followed by Ivory Coast with 69,2000, and Myanmar with 62,0000.

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