Posted by News Express | 16 February 2015 | 3,496 times
More than 30,000 migrants have died in just over 20 years between 1993 and 2014 while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in hopes for a better future in Europe, an expert told AA.
Nicolas Lambert, an expert with the French National Centre for Scientific Research, said: “The Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most dangerous migration path.”
Lambert, a cartographer, prepares maps based on files of migrants and civil society organisations records. He has listed migrant tragedies from 1993 to present day, and how they died.
“Most migrants died of drowning, starvation, or from the cold during their journeys,” he said.
Giving a breakup of the numbers, Lambert said 1,600 people died between 1993 and 1998; 3,700 between 1999 and 2002; 7,200 between 2003 and 2006; over 8,000 between 2007 and 2010; and around 10,000 between 2011 and 2014.
He said that 2011 was the deadliest year with at least 4,255 reported migrant deaths.
“Europe cannot remain indifferent to these deaths despite it carrying out a brutal policy towards migrants since 2000s,” he said.
Lambert said that the EU’s emigration policies, fueled by fears of emigrant invasion and other false identity cries, were becoming tougher with time.
Since 1999, the European Council on Justice and Home Affairs has taken several steps towards strengthening cooperation in the areas of migration, asylum and security.
In 2004, the European Union established the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, or Frontex, to reinforce cooperation between national border authorities.
According to Frontex’s official site, it works also closely with the border-control authorities of non-EU/Schengen countries — mainly those countries identified as a source or transit route of irregular migration.
Lambert said that Frontex’s use of warships, helicopters, radars, thermal imaging cameras, unmanned aircraft had forced migrants to “choose more dangerous ways to reach the European Union countries.”
“There is only one concrete result of this absurd policy: more and more migrants dying each year and the traffickers becoming richer with the years passing,” Lambert said.
He said that the first priority of the European countries must be to save lives of the migrants trying to reach European states.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensures that everybody is free to leave his or her country, he added.
The expert said that the latest incident near the Mediterranean Lampedusa Island in Italy, where at least 300 migrants reportedly drowned, was not an isolated incident in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to media reports about the Lampedusa Island incident, more than 400 people, including many women and children were aboard four ill-fated boats on Feb. 7; each passenger paid close to €650 to get close to their “European dream.”
Most of the people who drowned were African migrants.
The Italian Coast Guard Commander Roberto Boata had told AA that they have saved 105 people from a boat in danger, but 29 of them died later because of the cold, raising the death toll to at least 330.
The Feb. 7 tragedy was estimated to be the deadliest one since Oct. 3, 2013, when 366 migrants drowned near Lamedusa Island.
•Credit (except headline): Anadolu Agency. Photo shows migrants.
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