International Migrants Day History
International Migrants Day serves to celebrate the movement of migrants and their contribution to world development. Globalization has made the world a much smaller place than it previously was. Humans have always migrated but now they do so much faster and much further, many of whom risk their lives trying to reach a safer land with more opportunities.
On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations appointed International Migrants Day, a day to be celebrated annually on December 18. December 18 marks the anniversary of the United Nations' adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. On this day, it is important to recognize and remember the humanity that connects us all as we have all moved from somewhere.
International Migrants Day Facts & Quotes
- In 2013, the number of international migrants worldwide was 232 million. The population of migrants has been growing at an average of 1.6% per year from 2010-2013
- As of mid-2015, Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon were the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world. Turkey is currently hosting 1.84 million refugees, mostly Syrians, while Pakistan is hosting 1.5 million, mostly Afghans, and Lebanon, 1.2 million, 99% of which are Syrian.
- There are currently 65 million and counting refugees in the world. Most refugee are Syrian followed by Afghans, with 4.2 million and 2.6 million refugees, respectively.
Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists. ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me. ― Carlos Fuentes
International Migrants Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Donate tinned food, clothes, tents, medicine and bottled water to relief efforts for refugees. With more refugees that any time since World War II, the world needs help caring for so many homeless people, and your donations could be life-saving for millions of people who are currently struggling. Médecins Sans Frontières, Unicef and Islamic Relief are well known organizations for their work in this field.
- Since International Migrants Day is also a celebration of multiculturalism, try some food or drink from a different country. Have you tried a Cumberland sausage (UK), baklava (central Asian) or sake (Japan)? Enjoy a night out to a restaurant to enjoy different types of foods.
- The stories and events of migration are literally world-changing. There are countless films that each tell a different story of migration through time. Some of our recommendations: The Immigrant (1917), Children of Men (2006) or The Kite Runner (2007).
- Read some books that tackle migration. Try What is the What by Dave Eggers, Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai or They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benjamin Ajak.
- Explore your own heritage and ancestry. Humans have been constantly on the move for thousands of years. Did your forebears migrate? Why did they do so? Lots of census data is available online and records are available in libraries and other civic institutions.