UN agencies: Twice as many migrants die in the desert as at sea

Агентства ООН: в пустыне погибает вдвое больше мигрантов, чем на море

An IOM vehicle picks up migrants lost in the desert in Djibouti. UN agencies: Twice as many migrants die in the desert as at sea Refugees and Migrants

Refugees and migrants continue to face severe forms of violence, exploitation and death at sea and on land across Africa. UN agencies said Friday, calling on border authorities in several countries to do more to protect people seeking asylum.

A new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Center for Mixed Migration says migrants often underestimate the dangers they may encounter along the way. 

“Regardless of their status, migrants and refugees face serious human rights violations and ill-treatment along their travel routes… We cannot remain silent by such a high increase in violence,” emphasized Vincent Costel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean.

It is estimated that more people cross the Sahara Desert than the Mediterranean Sea, and the death toll of refugees and migrants in the desert is believed to be double exceeds the number of deaths at sea. 

Director of the IOM Mediterranean Coordination Office Lawrence Hart noted that, despite all the risks, a very large number of people are still going on a perilous journey, facing conflict and political and social instability at home.

“Last week we learned that in the first five months of this year, the Atlantic route leading Five thousand people died in the Canary Islands, a 700 percent increase on the same period last year, said Bram Fruves, director of the Center for Mixed Migration. “Although we don’t have exact numbers, we know that countless people die on land routes as well.”


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