International Migrants Day
Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.
The observance of International Migrants Day this year focuses on the stories of social cohesion, which are as varied and unique as each of the 272 million migrants living new lives and building new communities in every corner of the globe. It is a day to remember these individuals and reiterate the need to respect their rights and dignity as they are integral members of all our societies today.
The OECD International Migration Outlook 2020 says that the COVID-19 crisis has had unprecedented consequences on migration flows. Before the pandemic, permanent migration flows to the OECD amounted to 5.3 million in 2019, with similar figures for 2017 and 2018. However, Following the onset of the pandemic, almost all OECD countries restricted admission to foreigners. As a result, issuances of new visas and permits in OECD countries plummeted by 46% in the first half of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. This is the largest drop ever recorded.
Also, due to a range of vulnerabilities such as higher incidence of poverty, overcrowded housing conditions, and high concentration in jobs where physical distancing is difficult, immigrants are at a much higher risk of COVID‑19 infection than the native-born. Studies in a number of OECD countries found an infection risk that is at least twice as high as that of the native-born.
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
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