INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
Every year on December 18th, International Migrants Day emphasizes the protection of migrants’ human rights. The day also recognizes the contributions and efforts of migrants around the world.
Ever since human beings were created, they moved from one land to another. In most instances, they traveled to other lands in search of food, water, and shelter. Conflict was another reason people were forced to leave their land and search for a new home.
As time wore on and boundaries were created, countries formed. In some instances, migrants created new countries. This is how the United States was established when migrants from England moved here in search of religious freedom. Several waves of migrants came to the United States following its formation. One of the largest influxes of migrants happened between 1900 and 1915. During these years, 15 million migrants came to the United States from various countries around the world.
Migrants Around the World
It wasn’t just the United States that experienced mass numbers of migrants. Some of the largest migrations in the world include:
- 1944 – 700,000 people migrated from Chechnya to Central Asia to flee the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.
- 1947 to 1950 – over 15 million people migrated from India to Pakistan to avoid conflicts involving religion.
- 1948 to 1950 – 2 million Chinese migrants fled from China to Taiwan and other countries to escape communism.
- 1882 to present – 3.6 million Jews have migrated from all over the world, back to their homeland, Israel.
In most cases, migrants choose to leave the familiarity of their homeland to find a better life in another country. Often, however, they leave hardship behind only to find more difficulty ahead. Some of the most common problems migrants face include language barriers, poverty, securing work, discrimination, lack of adequate housing, and transportation. Migrants also have difficulty accessing economic assistance and healthcare.
Besides these problems that migrants face, there is another problem as well. Many people who want to migrant to another country in hopes of a better future do not have the financial means to do so. For this reason, many developed countries want to make the migration process easier and less expensive. According to the UN, there is mounting evidence that international migration benefits the country of origin as well as the destination.
HOW TO OBSERVE #MigrantsDay
Many international conferences are held in celebration of this day. In the past, the World Health Organization has released reports that cover information about migrants and refugees.
- Think about what your country would be like without migrants
- Find out what countries your ancestors came from
- If you know someone who has migrated to another country, ask them about their experience
- Watch a documentary about migrants including 4.1 Miles, Human Flow, Stranger in Paradise, and The Good Postman.
- Learn about famous migrants who helped shape America, including Albert Einstein, Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google), Levi Strauss, Joseph Pulitzer, and Arianna Huffington.
Don’t forget to spread awareness for this day on social media with #MigrantsDay
INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY HISTORY
On December 4, 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed December 18th as International Migrants Day. They did so due to the increasing number of migrants in the world. December 18th was chosen because it was on this date in 1990 that the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.