UN: Almost 30,000 refugees have died on their way to Europe in the last seven years

Alarming new report from the UN. More than 29,000 migrants have died on their way to Europe since 2014. Of these, almost six thousand – since the beginning of last year. Most often, refugees die on routes across the Mediterranean Sea and at the land borders with the EU. Sends UN with reference to the report of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“Since 2014, we have recorded more than 29,000 deaths during migration to Europe,” said Julia Black, author of the new IOM 2021 report. “These deaths are yet another grim reminder of the urgency of finding more legal and safer routes for migration.” .

Since 2021 (October 24), at least 2,836 deaths and disappearances have been recorded along the central Mediterranean route, up from 2,262 deaths recorded in 2019-2020.

The West Africa-Canary Islands (Spain) route recorded 1,532 deaths during the reporting period, already more than in any other year since IOM began documenting such cases in 2014.

For these long and dangerous shipping routes, the data for the current year is likely to be incomplete. The data often do not take into account cases of “invisible shipwrecks”, when entire ships are lost at sea without search and rescue. Verification of such cases is a long and laborious process.

Since 2021, the number of deaths on many other European routes has increased compared to previous years, especially on the land border between Turkey and Greece (126 deaths recorded), on the route in the Western Balkans (69), when crossing the English Channel (53), on the border between Belarus and the European Union (23) and the death of Ukrainians fleeing the war (17).

Data from the Missing Migrants Project shows that many deaths could have been prevented if migrants in need were quickly and effectively helped.

Since 2021, at least 252 people have died in alleged forced deportations by European authorities, according to the IOM. Deportation-related deaths have been recorded in the Central Mediterranean (97 deaths since 2021), the Eastern Mediterranean (70 deaths), the Turkey-Greece land border (58 deaths), the Western Mediterranean (23 deaths), and the Belarusian-Polish border (4 deaths). Such cases are almost impossible to fully verify due to the lack of transparency, so these numbers are likely to be underestimated.

In total, more than 17,000 people who died en route to Europe and the continent between 2014 and 2021 are listed without any information on country of origin, an important identifying detail that can help families search for missing relatives.

IOM calls on states in and outside Europe to take urgent and concrete measures to save lives and reduce the number of deaths during migration. States must uphold the right to life for all people and prevent further deaths and disappearances. As reminded by the IOM, all countries should review their migration policies to ensure safe migration and minimize the risk of death or loss of migrants.

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