“According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrant project, as of 19 December 2016, a total of 7,277 migrants and refugees have died or remain missing on world migratory routes in 2016. This is the highest yearly number IOM has ever recorded. It represents an average of 20 deaths per day. By comparison, the total number of deaths of migrants and refugees recorded in 2015 was 5,740. The number of deaths in the Mediterranean accounted for over 60 percent of all deaths of migrants and refugees worldwide.”
Almost 5000 deaths in the Mediterranean. When the Merkel-Erdogan deal was announced in February, we all knew that the reduction of the number of migrants going through Turkey and Greece would mean an increase in the numbers going through Libya and Italy, a much more deadly route. These deaths result from interdiction and deterrence policies: a change of policy could considerably reduce their numbers. Yet, European politicians choose to increase the human cost of undocumented migration in the hope of deterring passage. As this deterrence effect remains totally unproven, the policy has little justification, apart from allowing European politicians proclaim that they are “tough on crime”, an excellent rallying cry in electoral times. It is tragic to see that it is now almost official European policy to increase the number of deaths at sea in order to try to stem populist agendas.
See the full report on the PICUM’s website.