Up to 6% of migrants lose their life at sea

A study on migration flows shows that 6% of migrants die at sea near Malta and Lampedusa.

The new study shows that mortality rates between migration routes vary widely, ranging from 2% in the Canaries to 6% near Malta and Lampedusa.
The new study shows that mortality rates between migration routes vary widely, ranging from 2% in the Canaries to 6% near Malta and Lampedusa.

The matter of a few days shocked Europe with hundreds of migrants losing their lives in the Mediterranean.

The Migrants Files, a project by a European conglomerate of journalists, aims at precisely assessing the number of men, women and children that died as a result of EU Member States migration policies. The study concludes that the number of sourced dead and missing migrants was 50% higher than current estimates.

A reliable overview of migrant deaths has so far been difficult if not impossible to reach, however the Migrants Files, compiled by a consortium of more than 10 European journalists, now offers the most comprehensive and rigorous database on migrant fatalities ever assembled. 

And their assessment is shocking. Over the last 14 years, more than 23,000 people have died or vanished attempting to enter Europe, the study shows.

The number of migrant fatalities on their journey to Europe is much higher than previously believed. 

Earlier estimates ranged between 17,000 and 19,000, however this was based on a longer period. 

The new study shows that mortality rates between migration routes vary widely, ranging from 2% in the Canaries to 6% near Malta and Lampedusa.

Moreover, it concludes that EU member states constantly close the routes with low mortality, pushing migrants towards the more dangerous ones.

The damning study also points out that member states and EU institutions do not collect data on migrant deaths. 

When it comes to talking of “lives saved” and security of migrations, politicians and border patrol agencies “engage in shameless lies and whitewashing of their activities and programs, renaming surveillance and push-back activity into search and rescue operations,” the project says. 

The Migrants’ Files data indicates that migration flows vary between sea and land routes according to season, local conflicts and war zones, as well as the preferences of human traffickers. In recent years, the European Union has concluded a series of bilateral agreements with various north and west African countries and has undertaken several measures to tighten border security along Europe’s borders. 

As a result, the routes taken by migrants shifted from Spain, to Italy and then Greece, underscoring the variable nature of migrant flows.

The flow of migrants travelling overland from Turkey into Greece fell from more than 55,500 in 2011 to just over 12,000 in 2013. 

Meanwhile, the sea route between these two eastern Mediterranean countries saw an increase, from less than 1,500 to over 11,000 in the same period. 

EU states constantly close the routes with low mortality, pushing migrants towards the more dangerous ones

An ever-increasing number of asylum seekers are making their way to Europe either through the Greek islands or Italy. 

Since the land route from the Horn of Africa – Somalia and Eritera – through the Sinai desert into Israel has been cut, the sea journey between Libya and Lampedusa and Malta has lately returned to favour among the traffickers. 

Libya is currently one of the main hubs for migrants wishing to enter Europe, with the North African country’s lack of effective law enforcement and power vacuum, facilitating the migrants’ attempts to travel by sea, at a great risk. 

Over 23,000 died trying to enter Europe over the past 14 years

An in-depth analysis of migrant flows by the European Parliament’s directorate-general for external policies confirmed that a major increase in border crossings in the Mediterranean was recorded in 2013.

While warning that “the EU should prevent the criminalisation of migrants and of humanitarian organisations supporting migrants,” the report says that member states should be encouraged to speed up their procedures to grant asylum, while differentiating between refugees and irregular migrants. 

Furthermore, the report says that the European Parliament should encourage member states, in cooperation with the UNHCR, to increase their quotas for resettling refugees “not adequately protected in third countries”.

 

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