UNHCR: More migrant deaths and abuse despite fall in arrivals

TMP – 13/09/2017

A new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is showing a decline in the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe, while the number of those who lose their lives during the journey is increasing.

The overall number of sea arrivals to Europe has decreased so far in 2017 compared to the first half of 2016, mainly due to the closing of the Aegean route which drastically decreased migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey.

On the central Mediterranean migrant route, this year saw an increase in the flow of migrants to Italy compared to the first six months of 2016. However, since July there has been a sharp decrease in arrival levels.

The report says that many of the migrants who have reached Italy from Libya have survived dangerous desert crossings and abuse, including sexual violence, kidnappings, torture and detention in Libya. At sea, the risk of dying on route to Italy is one in 39.

According to the report, at least 686 people died on the route between Libya and Italy in May this year while an estimated 300 migrants died in June, contributing to the total of at least 2,171 deaths so far this year.

As most people travel clandestinely, this information is hard to confirm however and the estimates are considered to be higher in reality.