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2022 Most Powerful Passports Index exposes ‘travel apartheid’

2022 world’s ‘most powerful passports’ index exposes ‘travel apartheid’
2022 world’s ‘most powerful passports’ index exposes ‘travel apartheid’
Written by Harry Johnson

According to the report, the travel gains seen by citizens of upper middle- and high-income countries have “come at the expense” of lower-income nations and those deemed to be “high-risk” in terms of security and other considerations.

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UK firm Henley & Partners released its latest global passport ranking index today – a study on global mobility that found that the citizens of Japan and Singapore hold the most travel-friendly passports in the world in 2022.

Without accounting for COVID-19 restrictions, the rankings for early 2022 mean that Japanese and Singaporeans can apparently access 192 countries without a visa. 

Another Asian country, South Korea, is tied with Germany for second place on the list of 199 countries. The rest of the top 10 are dominated by EU nations, with the UK and US ranked sixth, and Australia, Canada, and Eastern European countries rounding out the highest performers.

Afghan nationals on the other hand can travel visa-free to only 26 destinations.

The ranking warned of COVID-19 restrictions worsening ‘travel apartheid’ between rich and poor countries, and a growing gap in travel freedoms enjoyed by rich nations versus those afforded to poor ones.

According to the report, the travel gains seen by citizens of upper middle- and high-income countries have “come at the expense” of lower-income nations and those deemed to be “high-risk” in terms of security and other considerations.

The report also said that this “inequality” in global mobility has been exacerbated by travel barriers over the course of the pandemic, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently likening restrictions placed against mainly African nations to “travel apartheid.”

“Expensive requirements associated with international travel institutionalize inequality and discrimination,” said Mehari Taddele Maru, a part-time professor at the Migration Policy Center at the European University Institute, adding that developed nations did “not always [share]” the developing world’s willingness to respond to “changing circumstances.”

“COVID-19 and its interplay with instability and inequality has highlighted and exacerbated the shocking disparity in international mobility between wealthy developed nations and their poorer counterparts,” Mehari added.

Meanwhile, the report forecast further uncertainty on travel and mobility for the rest of the year, taking into account the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The emergence of “such a robust new strain” was a “major geopolitical failure” on the part of the US, UK, and the EU for not providing better funding and vaccine supplies to southern Africa, according to comments by Columbia University professor Misha Glenny accompanying the report.

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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