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With The End Of Sea Rescue Operations, Migrants Death Will Increase: U.N.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than 2,100 people have died making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya to Europe this year.

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Refugees, Migrants
Lifejackets piled on this Greek beach have come to stand for the rigors and danger that migrants face trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. VOA

Leading U.N. humanitarian agencies warn migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea will multiply with the end of sea and rescue operations by Doctors Without Borders and its partner SOS Mediterranee.

The two international charities were pressured by the European Union to put their ship, the Aquarius into dry dock and abandon their life-saving rescue mission.

The Aquarius has been docked in Marseille, France, since early October after Panama revoked its registration at the behest of the right-wing, anti-immigration Italian government.

Refugees, Migrants
In this Aug. 27, 1994 file photo, U.S. Coast Guard crew from the cutter Staten Island are hindered by rough seas in the Florida Straits as they attempt to rescue Cuban refugees. VOA

Italy claims these operations encourage migrants to make the perilous sea journey. It says ending these activities will save lives, a claim hotly disputed by U.N. officials.

UN refugee agency spokeswoman, Shabia Mantoo, says search-and-rescue capacity needs to be reinforced rather than diminished.

“So, we do continue to call strongly for increasing search-and-rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean and for leaving space for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts,” said Mantoo. “Saving lives is our primary concern.”

Since it began operations in February 2016, the Aquarius has helped nearly 30,000 refugees and migrants in distress find a safe haven. U.N. Human Rights Spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, tells VOA she is deeply concerned by recent developments.

Refugees, Migrants
Representational Image of Refugees. Wikimedia Commons.

“The provision of support and assistance to migrants must not be criminalized,” said Shamdasani. “The decrease of search-and-rescue by humanitarian organizations and States failure to provide adequate search-and-rescue capacity is resulting in an increase of migrants, an increase of vulnerability of migrants at sea.”

Also Read: Refugees’ Entitled To Claim The Right To Asylum in The U.S: U.N.

Shamdasani says the death rate in the Central Mediterranean this year is much higher than in previous years. She says States must protect the lives and safety of migrants and ensure those who are at risk are rescued and offered immediate assistance.

The International Organization for Migration reports more than 2,100 people have died making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya to Europe this year. This is nearly two-thirds of the more than 3,300 deaths recorded globally in 2018. (VOA)

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Did You Know? IOM States Latin America as World’s Deadliest Route for Migrants

The region’s grim yearly record as the deadliest route for migrants for now has been broken by Latin America.

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Latin America
Millman says smugglers often take risks and cut corners to increase profits. He says many drive unsafe vehicles, and this often results in deadly accidents. Pixabay

The International Organization for Migration reports Latin America has displaced previous record-holder, the Mediterranean Sea as the deadliest route for migrants in the world.

Thousands of refugees and migrants have died while making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

The region’s grim yearly record as the deadliest route for migrants for now has been broken by Latin America.

International Organization for Migration spokesman, Joel Millman, says since February 1, 79 deaths have been reported along this route. He says this is nearly three times higher than the numbers reported in the Mediterranean.

Mexico
Migrants ride in the back of a truck during their journey toward the United States, in Los Olivos, Mexico, Feb. 2, 2019. On Thursday dozens of migrants were killed or injured when the truck they were riding in crashed in Mexico. VOA

He agrees the rise in deaths is a consequence of increased migration from Latin American countries to the United States. He tells VOA the journey has become more dangerous because of greater reliance by refugees and migrants on smugglers to transport them to the U.S. border.

“Circular migration, in which there were repeat customers every year in Latin America going to jobs has largely ended. And, that means that the relationship that migrants have with the people who transport them tends to be much harsher and they are dealing with a more criminal class of smuggler than existed a generation ago. Clearly, that shows up in the numbers of people killed,” he said.

Migration
The journey has become more dangerous because of greater reliance by refugees and migrants on smugglers to transport them to the U.S. border.

Also Read: Mass Shooting in New Zealand: Facebook Still Working to Remove All Videos

Millman says smugglers often take risks and cut corners to increase profits. He says many drive unsafe vehicles, and this often results in deadly accidents.

Just 10 days ago, he notes a truck accident in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas killed 24 Guatemalan men and women. He says this year has been a particularly deadly one for Guatemalans. He says this crash was one of the worst reported by IOM in the past five years. (VOA)