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Asia Pacific | Annual Regional Overview | January - December 2021 [EN/TH]

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In 2021, at least 788 people lost their lives during migration in Asia, with the vast majority of deaths (72.5%) being recorded in its second half. 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. There were 495 people reported to have died 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 per cent (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 Bhasan Char Island. In South-Eastern Asia, 14 people from neighboring 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 IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) face various data challenges discussed below, meaning that more deaths certainly remain unknown.