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Dhaka rejects UN report on 3.2m Bangladeshis’ migration to India

September 15, 2013 00:00:00

Nizam Ahmed The government will never endorse the latest United Nations report on international migration, which said some 3.2 million Bangladeshis had migrated and settled in India over the past decades, a senior official of the ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA) said on Saturday. The report, prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and released on Wednesday termed the "migration from Bangladesh to India as the single largest bilateral stock of international migrants in the eastern hemisphere and also in the developing world." Rejecting the latest UN migration report, the MoFA official said the it was a carbon-copy of Indian media that had been claiming so over the past several years. "The government will take appropriate step against the flawed migration report, which also claimed that India was a favourite destination for Bangladeshi migrants in 3013," said the official. He said, there was no exodus of migrants to India except in 1971, when some 10 million people crossed over the border during the nine-month-long Bangladesh liberation war. After the war, all refugees returned officially and there was no report of large-scale exodus as claimed in the UN report, the official said. Some nearly 100,000 people who crossed over to India from Chittagong Hill Tracts during the low-key insurgency in the region also returned following the signing of peace deal in 1997, other officials said. However, the UN report said the number of international migrants rose nearly 32.60 per cent to 232 million over the last 13 years, compared to 175 million in 2000. The number of people living abroad on employment and other purposes including pecuniary and security needs were 154 million in 1990, the DESA said in a UN news release on Wednesday. With the rise in international migration, currently some 3.2 per cent of the world's total population live abroad worldwide, it said. Compared to other regions of destination, Asia saw the largest increase of international migrants since 2000, adding some 20 million migrants in the past 13 years. This growth was mainly fuelled by the increasing demand for foreign labour in the oil-producing countries of Western Asia and in South-Eastern Asian countries with rapidly growing economies, such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. However, the US gained the largest absolute number of international migrants between 1990 and 2013-nearly 23 million, equal to one million additional migrants per year. The United Arab Emirates recorded the second largest gain with seven million, followed by Spain with six million. The findings also show that 74 per cent of international migrants is of working age, between 20 and 64 years of age with women accounting for 48 per cent of all international migrants. The figures have been released ahead of a high-level global summit on migration and development to be held by the General Assembly in New York on October 3 and 4. According to the latest statistics, Europe and Asia host nearly two-thirds of all international migrants worldwide. Europe remains the most popular destination with 72 million international migrants in 2013, compared to 71 million in Asia. Within Europe, Germany and France host the largest immigrant communities due to work migration and geographic routes with North Africa. The world's largest corridor of international migration, however, remains between the United States and Mexico, according to the latest figures, the report said. "Most international migrants originate in developing countries but in recent years they have been settling in almost equal numbers in developed and developing regions," the UN news release quoted DESA Population Division Director John Wilmoth, Director as saying. "New sources and destinations of migrants are emerging, and in some cases, countries have become important points of origin, transit and destination simultaneously," Mr. Wilmoth said. It said South Asians were the largest group of international migrants living outside their home region. Of the 36 million international migrants from South Asia, 13.5 million resided in the oil-producing countries of West Asia. Asians and Latin Americans living outside their home regions formed the largest global diaspora groups. In 2013, Asians represented the largest group, accounting for about 19 million migrants living in Europe, some 16 million in North America and about 3 million in Oceania. The report said Europe and Asia combined hosted nearly two-thirds of all international migrants.

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