International Migrants Day is marked on December 18 every year to draw attention to the gruelling crisis that millions of displaced people face around the world and as a reminder for the protection of their rights. According to the United Nations, more than 281 million people (3.6% of the global population) migrated from their native land in the year 2020 and the figure is expected to grow this year.
Notably, a report by UNHCR revealed that nearly 80 million people, a majority of them under the age of 18 years, have been forced to flee their homes, primarily due to violence.
Int’l Migrants Day: A look at migrant crises around the world
Central Asia: After the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, hundreds of thousands of Afghans – left behind in evacuation ops – began their journey on foot. Crossing the international border on the west, they entered Iran. Many proceeded towards Turkey, despite the fear of getting prosecuted and returned. Meanwhile, thousands of others began their journey eastwards towards Pakistan. According to the UNHCR, more than 2.8 million Afghan people are expected to seek asylum outside their native land by the end of this year.
Europe: Since the start of the year, Europe has been blanketed in migrant exodus. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants – majorly from the Middle East and Asia – have flocked on the borders of Poland hoping to make their way inwards. Meanwhile, several others have been trying to make their way through Turkey, which at present, hosts the largest number of refugees. The European migrant crisis recently made headlines after 27 people died after their boats capsized whilst crossing the English Channel between the UK and France. Perilous journeys to enter European countries have taken the lives of hundreds in the last few years.
Central America: Thousands of immigrants from Central and South America have been making the journey, through land and water, towards the USA in a bid to escape poverty and crime. Hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants have coalesced on the Texas border cascading a massive immigration crisis. Scores of others have been stuck in Mexican border towns since 2016 when the White House ended a policy that allowed them inside the US on humanitarian grounds.
South-East Asia: The Rohingya community has been described as “one of the world’s least wanted minorities” and “some of the world’s most persecuted people” in the world. In February 1992, Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a press release, “In fact, although there are (135) national races living in Myanmar today, the so-called Rohingya people is not one of them”. Years later, in 2017, the Burmese military began what United Nations described as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing”. As per the UNHCR, over 742,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh from Buddhist majority Myanmar since 25 August 2017.