Afghan migrants die during sea crossing to Greece

Seven Afghan migrants, including three children, have died when their boat sank as they were trying to cross into Greece from Turkey.

A rescue ship and helicopter were sent out by the Turkish coastguards close to the western province of Canakkale to rescue any survivors after the incident. According to Associated Press, the coastguard service said they managed to rescue 12 Afghans and one alleged Iranian people smuggler from the boat.

Suliman lost six of his family members in the accident. Speaking to The Migrant Project from his home in Kabul, he talked about what happened.

“Irregular migration is buying death while paying money. It is the biggest mistake to trust human traffickers, seeing them squeeze 30-35 people on to a boat with the capacity for 4-5 people and still trusting them,” Suliman said.

“It is not poverty, insecurity or unemployment that took my family’s life, but irregular migration.

“My message to the people of Afghanistan is to not only be against irregular migration themselves but to spread this message as much as they can to stop innocent people from dying,” Suliman concluded.

In March, the bodies of 16 migrants, including at least five children, were found in the sea off Greece, after their boat sank, a spokeswoman from the Greek coastguard said at the time.

“We don’t know where they came from,” she said, adding that no further details were available about the victims’ nationalities.

“We cannot and should not tolerate losing people, losing children in the waters of the Aegean,” Greece’s migration minister, Dimitris Vitsas, said in a statement following the incident.

“Clearly the solution is in finding measures to protect these people, in safe procedures and passages for refugees and migrants and in the relentless crackdown on human-trafficking rackets.”

According to Associated Press, official figures show that in 2017 Turkey stopped about 45,000 Afghan nationals and a further 42,000 so far this year from reaching Greece. After Syrians, Afghan migrants are the second most frequent group to attempt the crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Photo Caption: A boat carrying migrants off the coast of Greece

TMP – 11/06/2018

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