The number of international migrants increased slightly in 2020, despite the brutal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on displacement and numerous border closures, the UN said on Wednesday (December 1).
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The number of international migrants represented 3.6% of the world population last year to reach 281 million people, explains the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in its annual report on migratory flows published on Wednesday.
This is a small increase from 2019, when the 272 million international migrants represented 3.5% of the world population but it is almost 200 million more people than in 1970, when there were only 84 million migrants. international organizations or 2.3% of the world's population, recalled the IOM.
40.5 million newly displaced people
However, the organization stresses that two million more people would have undertaken international migration if the Covid-19 pandemic had not disrupted international links but also the very functioning of host countries and their economy. In 2020 alone, some 108,000 travel restrictions were introduced and the number of air passengers fell 60% to just 1.8 billion from 4.5 billion the previous year.
The Covid "
has undoubtedly changed the world and affects all aspects of migration,
" said Marie McAuliffe, author of the report during a press briefing. “
This has clearly had an impact on migration and certainly a negative impact on mobility,
” she added. But while international migration has been slowed, a series of conflicts, violence and natural disasters have caused the number of internally displaced people to jump. Last year 40.5 million people were newly displaced in this way.
We are witnessing a paradoxical phenomenon that has never happened before in the history of mankind,
" said the director general of the organization Antonio Vitorino, quoted in a press release.
While billions of people have literally been confined to their homes by the Covid-19, tens of millions more have been displaced within their own countries,
” he said.