People without a homeland and land: the global crisis of migrants and refugees in 2021

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

From the crowds under a bridge on the US-Mexico border and Venezuelans trekking across Latin America to migrant camps in Belarus and the efforts to relocate thousands of Afghans after the end of a 20-year war, 2021 was a year marked by crises migration.

According to the “World Migration Report 2022” of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in 2020 there were around 281 million international migrants.

However, in the last two years, significant events of migration and displacement have occurred due to conflicts or serious economic and political instability in several countries. The United Nations (UN) also highlights displacement caused by climate disasters.

In 2020, 89.4 million people were displaced, estimated the IOM.

The United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), in turn, reported in mid-2021 that as a result of conflicts, violence, human rights violations, persecution and natural disasters, the number of forced displacements worldwide exceeded 84 millions of people.

According to UNHCR, more than 68% of refugees and displaced persons worldwide come from just five countries:

Syria: 6.8 million
Venezuela: 4.1 million
Afghanistan: 2.6 million
Southern Sudan: 2.3 million
Myanmar: 1.1 million

Although in 2020 the situation for refugees and displaced persons was more difficult, with a large number of countries closing their borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, access to humanitarian asylum has saved and continues to save the lives of many.

However, public health policies – such as the “Title 42″ in the US – continue to limit access to asylum, according to the UNHCR report.

With regard to migration in the Caribbean, in recent years the presence of people from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba has increased.

According to the IOM data portal, some of these people “transit from Colombia to Panama through the Darien jungle en route to the United States and Canada.”

“More than 100,000 migrants so far, in 2021, have irregularly crossed the dangerous Darien Gap jungle into Panama from Colombia, after walking through several countries in South America, the IOM said in a statement.

“The number in the first nine months of 2021 triples the previous record of 30,000 people on the same route over 2016. From Panama, migrants continue north on a journey that is particularly dangerous for women and children,” added the organization .

UNICEF reported with concern that nearly 19,000 migrant children crossed the Darien region on foot in 2021.

On the American continent alone, the IOM recorded 1,121 deaths, including victims of the traffic accident in Chiapas, Mexico, which killed at least 55 migrants in December.

Deaths in South America also broke a record, with 137 deaths, 64 of them of Venezuelan citizens.

By the end of 2021, the number of deaths of migrants worldwide exceeded 4,470.

The following is an overview of the five main focuses of the global migration crisis that marked 2021.

The millions of displaced people in Venezuela

Venezuela is one of the biggest displacement crises in the world. By mid-2021, a total of 5.1 million Venezuelans had left the country. This includes 186,800 refugees, 952,300 asylum seekers and 3.9 million who have been displaced abroad, according to UNHCR.

The reasons? According to the United Nations, people continue to leave Venezuela to escape violence, insecurity and a lack of medicines and basic services.

Venezuela is the second country, after Haiti, with the highest rate of malnutrition, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Currently, more than 5 million Venezuelans live abroad, many of them in neighboring countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile.

However, “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans remain without any kind of documentation or permission to stay regularly in neighboring countries and therefore do not have guaranteed access to basic rights,” according to UNHCR.

The agency indicates that the lack of proper documents and licenses makes this population more vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation, trafficking, violence, discrimination and xenophobia.

Another difficult year on the US southern border

This year, at least 651 people have died trying to cross the US/Mexico border, more than in any other year since an international body began documenting the deaths in 2014.

And while the IOM hasn’t specified the reason for the deaths, crossing the US southern border is often a perilous journey that has resulted in deaths and rescues over the years.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has previously said that the majority of migrant deaths at the border are related to exposure to heat.

On the other hand, the US Border Patrol reported nearly 1.66 million arrests for illegal border crossings into Mexico last year, the highest annual number of arrests on record, according to data released by the agency on Friday. ).

Since taking office, the Joe Biden administration has struggled to manage the unprecedented number of migrants crossing the US, facing an influx of children that has strained resources from the start and, more recently, thousands of migrants arriving in the United States. days to the country in the unprepared region of Del Rio, Texas.

Since March 2020, the CBP has complied with a public health order known as “Title 42”, which, based on health prevention criteria, allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants, which has been associated with an increase in the number of people. crossing the border repeatedly and a high number of arrests.

Likewise, after a controversial court ruling from states where Republicans govern, the Biden administration has been forced to reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” or “Remain in Mexico” program, which forces migrants of different nationalities to remain in the country while they settle. asylum claims.

Immigrant rights advocates and some lawmakers criticized Biden for upholding the Trump-era pandemic policy, calling it a human rights violation.

National Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the government maintains its position against “Remaining in Mexico”. The case is still pending in the Court of Justice, where the government defends the decision to end the program.

Haiti adrift

This year, Haiti suffered the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, a devastating earthquake and the passage of Tropical Storm Grace, which created uncertainty in a country where poverty and violence persist.

According to the UN, in mid-2020 there were 1,769,671 Haitians in other countries.

In 2020, the United States was home to the largest population of Haitian migrants in the world, according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). A significant number of Haitians also live in the Dominican Republic (496 thousand), Chile (237,000), Canada (101,000) and France (85,000).

And while this year saw a large influx of Haitian immigrants, the MPI indicates that this group was not exactly escaping recent developments in the country, but that they are part of a generation of Haitians who have emigrated since the 2010 earthquake.

The economic cost of the pandemic in the region has further driven migration to the southern border of the United States.

One of the reasons Haitians moved to the US border has to do with the May announcement of 18-month temporary protection status.

The Homeland Security Secretary cited “security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.”

More than 97% of Haitians who migrate to the United States do not come directly from Haiti, but reside in South American countries such as Chile and Brazil, according to the Panamanian government.

More than 70,000 migrants arrived in Panama in 2021, more than 30,000 of whom are from Haiti.

Violence breaks out on the Polish-Belarus border

The European Union (EU) has blamed Belarus for fabricating the crisis on the bloc’s eastern border, claiming the government has opened doors for people desperate to flee a region plagued by unemployment and instability.

EU officials called it a “hybrid war,” designed, they say, to punish Poland for harboring political opponents of the president and to pressure the bloc to lift sanctions against Belarus. But it had the opposite effect.

The deteriorating conditions on the European Union’s eastern border underscores the dire human cost of the geopolitical standoff now taking place between Russia’s ally Belarus, NATO and the bloc’s member Poland. Neither side is willing to give in, leaving immigrants trapped in the middle.

Poland is being targeted by international aid organizations, which say they are violating international law by pushing asylum seekers back to Belarus instead of accepting requests for international protection. Poland defends its actions, saying they are legal.

The United Nations estimates that there are up to 2,000 migrants and refugees on the Polish border, most of them Kurds, coming from Iraq, but also Syrians, Iranians and Afghans, among others. The UN also estimates that there are approximately 7,000 migrants and refugees currently in Belarus.

Recently, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada have taken coordinated action against several Belarusian entities and individuals in their latest effort to put pressure on Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in response to the migration crisis.

In a joint statement, these countries demanded that Lukashenko “immediately and completely stop orchestrating irregular migration across their borders into the EU”.

“Those in Belarus or other countries that facilitate the illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders should know that this has a substantial cost,” added the nations.

Belarus’s Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, speaking at the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Stockholm, said Belarus was “punished” with sanctions “only because we revealed the” dark side” of European democracy” .

Afghanistan after the end of a 20-year war

Even before the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, poverty and food insecurity were pervasive, due to consecutive droughts, economic decline, prolonged conflict and the pandemic. However, the crisis quickly worsened.

Currently, an estimated 6 million Afghans have been displaced from their homes and country due to conflict, violence and poverty, according to the United Nations. UNHCR Spokesperson Babar Baloch said in early December that some 3.5 million Afghans have been forcibly displaced, including nearly 700,000 who have been displaced this year.

Afghan refugees are the third most displaced population in the world, after Syrian and Venezuelan refugees.

This year, the Taliban government faced an economic crisis after billions of dollars in foreign aid were blocked, depriving the country of money that fueled the economy, basic services and humanitarian work.

The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan could be “the worst in the world”, with more than half of its population going hungry.

“Afghanistan is now among the worst humanitarian crises in the world – if not the worst – and food security is practically collapsing,” said David Beasley, executive director of the UN’s World Food Program.

“Millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between emigration and starvation unless we can increase our aid to save lives and unless the economy can be revived,” he added.

In a statement to CNN, the Taliban acknowledged the country’s “economic problems” but vehemently denied that there was a crisis, calling these allegations “false news.”

“No one is going to starve, because there is no hunger, and the cities are full of food,” said the group’s spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, contradicting disturbing images of starving children.

Anna Coren, Jessie Yeung, Abdul Basir Bina, Jadyn Sham, Amir Vera, Carma Hassan, Sol Amaya, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, Matthew Chance, Zahra Ullah, Antonia Mortensen, Eliza Mackintosh, da CNN, contributed to this report

This content was originally created in Spanish.

original version

Reference: CNN Brasil

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.