Human Rights

UN: Pandemic appears to have accelerated ‘hostile rhetoric’ against migrants

The immigration court system, run by the Department of Justice, has 1.3 million cases already on the docket
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The United Nations migration agency said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic appears to have accelerated “hostile rhetoric” against migrants in the world and “radically altered” mobility. 

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) World Migration Report 2022 released on Wednesday detailed that travel and other COVID-19 restrictions have created problems for migration worldwide.

“The pandemic also seems to have accelerated the hostile rhetoric toward migrants that has been growing in the last decade,” IOM Director-General Antonio Vitorino said, according to The Associated Press.

“So we have devoted, in this report, a chapter on disinformation about migration,” he added. “Our research shows that debunking myth, as well as pre-bunking strategies, can help to mitigate or prevent harm caused by nefarious actors, who seek to undermine balanced discussions on migration.”

The report pointed to the “dramatic increase” in internal displacement as migrants’ movement within countries due to natural disasters, conflict and violence including COVID-19 restrictions have shut down borders across the globe since the beginning of the pandemic and spread over the last two years. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered immobility worldwide to an extent unseen in recent history, slowing the pace of human mobility and migration,” said Ugochi Daniels, IOM deputy director-general for operations, according to the AP. “The pandemic is estimated to have negatively impacted the total growth of international migrants by 2 million.”

The new report also said there are about 281 million migrants around the world in its latest complete count in 2020, accounting for 3.6 percent of the global population.

The IOM also highlighted “major migration and displacement events” with the last two years including conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan and political and economic instability in Venezuela and Afghanistan, the report said. 

This comes as the agency also noted that migration between highly developed countries is increasing, not just migration from poor countries to richer ones.

The report noted that about 3,900 migrants have died or gone missing in 2020, which is down from 5,400 in 2019.

Tags COVID-19 Immigration International Organization for Migration Pandemic United Nations World Migration Report

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