International Migrants Day
December 18, 2023
— 11:59 pm
Celebrated every year on 18th December, International Migrants Day is set aside to recognize the important contribution of migrants and highlight the challenges they face.
In recent years, conflict, insecurity, and the effects of climate change, war and conflict have heavily contributed to forced movement of people, both within countries or across borders. In 2020, over 281 million people were international migrants while over 59 million people were internally displaced by the end of 2021.
Regardless of the reasons that compel people to move, migrants and displaced people represent some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in society, and are often exposed to abuse and exploitation, have limited access to essential services including healthcare, and are faced with xenophobic attacks and stigma fueled by misinformation. On the other hand, many migrant workers are often in temporary, informal, or unprotected jobs, which exposes them to a greater risk of insecurity, layoffs, and poor working conditions. Due to persistent lack of safe and regular migration pathways, millions continue to take perilous journeys each year. Since 2014 more than 50,000 migrants have lost their lives on migratory routes across the world.
Despite this, migrants have proven to be a source of prosperity, innovation, and sustainable development to countries of origin, transit, and host countries. Their financial contribution through remittances offers a lifeline to families and spurs local markets, especially those of low and middle-income countries. Migrants’ role in the labour market remains invaluable, as evidenced on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Their knowledge, networks, and skills have greatly contributed to the development of resilient communities.
Strengthening the contribution of migrants to sustainable development requires collective effort to improve the governance of migration and addressing the challenges migrants face. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) offers the opportunity and guidance to actualize human mobility and seize the opportunities it presents.