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U.N.: COVID-19 has made moving more difficult for migrants on multiple fronts

By Simon Druker
U.N.: COVID-19 has made moving more difficult for migrants on multiple fronts
Migrants are seen at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa on May 18. File Photo by Jalal Morchidi/EPA-EFE

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is making several facets of life increasingly tough for millions of migrants across the globe, according to a United Nations report on Wednesday.

The International Organization for Migration's World Migration Report 2022 breaks down how travel and other COVID-19 restrictions have increased problems for migration worldwide.

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The agency produces the report every two years. The latest found that the current climate has "radically altered" mobility for millions of people who are looking to cross international borders, calling COVID-19 the "great disruptor" in immigration.

Wednesday's assessment goes on to say that "hostile rhetoric" against migrants is also accelerating in the face of the pandemic.

Migration between richer countries has risen over the last two years, while internal displacement in politically-fragile states has seen a "dramatic increase," primarily due to conflict, pandemic-related border closures and climate change, the IOM report says.

The organization estimates that the number of migrants worldwide grew to 281 million in 2020, about 3.6% of the global population. That figure is up from 272 million in 2019 (3.5%).

For comparison, there were approximately 84 million international migrants in 1970, which represented just 2.3% of the global population.

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Wednesday's report also found that almost 4,000 migrants died while on the move in 2020, down from 5,400 in 2019. It also estimates there would have been another 2 million migrants last year if not for the coronavirus pandemic.

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