More than 3,000 migrants died or disappeared trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean and Atlantic routes during the year 2021, the United Nations (UN) revealed this Friday.
New York, USA |According to data revealed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), of the total of 3,000 migrants, 1,924 were reported dead or missing on the Central and Western Mediterranean routes and 1,153 on the sea route from Northwest Africa to the Islands. Canaries.
The UNHCR, which “calls for urgent support to prevent deaths and protect refugees and asylum seekers who are embarking on dangerous journeys by land and sea”, stresses that in 2021 the number of victims has doubled compared to 2020, when they were 1,544 people were reported dead or missing. In 2022, the number will already be 478.
The increase in victims is related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the border closures in 2021, which led “many refugees and desperate migrants” to turn “to smugglers to facilitate these dangerous journeys”.
“Most sea crossings took place in non-navigable inflatable boats – many of which capsized or deflated, leading to loss of life,” the note said.
“The sea journey from coastal West African states such as Senegal and Mauritania to the Canary Islands is long and dangerous and can take up to 10 days. Many boats veered off course or disappeared without a trace in these waters.”
However, there is also danger on land routes, “where even greater numbers may have died” on journeys across the Sahara desert and remote border areas, in detention centers, or while in captivity by smugglers or traffickers.
The UN reveals that on these routes there are “reports” of “extrajudicial executions, illegal and arbitrary detentions, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labour, slavery, forced marriage and other human rights violations”.
In the statement, the UN agency also warns that “political instability and ongoing conflicts, the deterioration of socio-economic conditions, as well as the impact of climate change, can increase dangerous displacements and movements in the future”.
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