Published on January 4th, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti0
Migrant Drownings Top 3,000 for 4th Straight Year, Despite Reduced Migrant Crossings of Mediterranean
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, is reporting that a grim weekend of death has resulted in the confirmation of at least 3,000 migrant or refugee deaths on Mediterranean Sea routes through 26 November 2017, marking the fourth consecutive year that IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has reported this total.
Deaths across the Mediterranean since the October 2013 Lampedusa tragedy – a shipwreck that took the lives of over 360 victims – now have surpassed 15,000, or more than 50 per cent of all migrant and refugee deaths worldwide over these last four years.
“We’ve been saying this for years and we’ll keep on saying it: It’s no longer enough to simply count these tragic statistics. We must also act,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, on Monday. “This latest news, coming on the heels of all we have learned of open slave markets in Libya, the deprivation we see of those held by smugglers en route to the Mediterranean coast, and the difficult conditions of Libyan detention centres, all demand our attention. We must end these practices and manage migration in a way that is safe, regular and secure for all.”
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project last week reported migration along the three main sea routes of the Mediterranean had left 2,993 victims through Friday, 24 November. Over the weekend IOM learned of at least eight deaths on the Western Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Spain as well of the death of a 10-year-old Afghan boy off the Greek island of Lesvos. Also this past weekend IOM learned at least 31 migrants perished in an incident off Libya’s coastal city of Garabulli in a boat capsizing. It is believed that many migrants went missing.
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