More than 2.7 million migrants who wished to return home have been stranded abroad because of restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations said on Friday.
The world needs to urgently step up cooperation to allow people to return in a safe manner despite the coronavirus constraints, said the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
The IOM warned in a report that border closures and travel bans had left large numbers of migrants stranded.
It defined stranded migrants as people outside their country of habitual residence who wanted to return home but were being prevented by restrictions related to the pandemic.
IOM chief Antonio Vitorino urged countries to do more for the roughly 2.75 million people stuck in limbo.
“The scope and subsequent enforcement of tens of thousands of mobility restrictions, including border closures and nationwide lockdowns related to Covid-19, requires states to reach out to their neighbours and to migrants’ countries of origin to address their needs and vulnerabilities,” he said in a statement.
“Migrants can be returned home in a safe and dignified manner despite the constraints imposed by Covid-19.”
IOM said it had calculated the 2.75 million figure from official sources on known cases up to July 13 of migrants stranded abroad in need of assistance, including food, water, shelter…