At least 788 died during migration in Asia in 2021: IOM
In 2021, at least 788 people lost their lives during migration in Asia, with the vast majority of deaths (72.5 percent) being recorded in its second half, according to the International Organisation for Migration's Missing Migrants Project (MMP).
This illustrates not only the realities of people migrating irregularly to seek safety and/or better livelihood opportunities amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the risks faced by people who are forcibly displaced by conflicts and statelessness, it said.
The Missing Migrants Project published the annual regional overview on Asia Pacific on Friday while IOM Bangladesh shared it with the media today.
According to the report, deaths of 495 people were reported while migrating in Southern Asia, while another 76 lives were lost during migration in South-Eastern Asia, deeming these locations the deadliest documented subregions in the second half of 2021.
In Southern Asia, more than 95 percent (472) of these deaths were documented during the migration of Afghan nationals from Afghanistan, while another 23 lives were lost during Rohingya's onward journeys from Bangladesh's Bhashan Char island.
In South-Eastern Asia, 14 people from neighbouring countries died during migration to Thailand, while the Indonesia-Malaysia maritime route claimed the lives of at least 61 Indonesians, and one Rohingya died en route to Indonesia.
While these numbers are indicative of the high-risk migration routes in Asia, they are not representative: the fatalities recorded by the Missing Migrants Project face various data challenges, meaning that more deaths certainly remain unknown.
The lack of official data sources in Asia in the MMP dataset also indicates that more efforts from government actors are urgently required to address the problem, IOM said.
With better quality data on risks and fatalities along migratory routes, policymakers will have information they need to implement evidence-based migration policies and programmes.
Beyond these recorded numbers are countless families -- mother, father, loved ones -- suffering ambiguous loss and endlessly searching for answers.
Meaningful actions by states are therefore in urgent need to prevent loss of more lives and uphold their commitment to work towards promoting safe migration under both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).