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Published on March 16th, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti


6,000 Migrant Deaths Recorded in 2017, ‘Only a Fraction of the Real Number’ Worldwide: GMDAC

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that 6,142 deaths and disappearances were recorded during migration globally last year, the third consecutive year that more than 6,000 fatalities were recorded by the project. Since IOM began tracking migrant deaths in 2014, nearly 26,000 fatalities have been recorded – but this is likely only a fraction of the real number of deaths on migratory routes worldwide.

IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing, has stressed that “not all deaths and disappearances during migration are reported – in many remote regions of the world, bodies may never be found, and many migrants may never be identified.”

“We have repeatedly emphasized that data from official sources is severely lacking,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre, where Missing Migrants Project is based. “This means that we have to rely on news reports and interviews with migrants to collect data in many cases.” He added that even in the Mediterranean, where MMP has recorded more than 3,000 deaths every year since 2014, only a few states publish information on bodies brought to their shores, and none report estimates of migrants lost at sea. Nonetheless, MMP has recorded more than 15,000 fatalities in the Mediterranean since 2014.

MMP recorded 3,139 deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean last year, more than 90 per cent of which occurred in the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. While these numbers are lower than the 5,143 deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in 2016, it is important to note that these figures are minimum estimates.

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