International Migrants Day is commemorated on December 18, each year; following a proclamation in 2000 by the UN General Assembly.
The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) defines migration as the movement of persons away from their place of usual residence, either across an international border or within a State. IOM also describes a migrant as a person who moves away from his or her place of usual residence, whether within a country or across an international border, temporarily or permanently, and for a variety of reasons. It should be noted that their definition of a migrant is an umbrella term, not defined under international law, reflecting a common lay understanding.
Migration patterns have changed over the years with widely accepted reasons such as climate change, family bonding, education, asylum seeking, humanitarian crisis and more popularly for economic reasons.
Statistics show that approximately 281 million people were international migrants in 2020, representing 3.6 per cent of the global population. Issues on migration must therefore be taken seriously.
The 2021 edition of International Migrants Day is under the theme “Harnessing the potential of human mobility.”
By: Theresa R. Fianko