22 February 2018

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04/21/2015 UN-EU

UN: 800 dead in the worst Mediterranean migrant tragedy

The ship that sank came from Egypt and made a stop in Tripoli (Libya) to load new passengers. The refugees were from Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea, Bangladesh and Syria. A boat sinks near the coast of Rhodes, with 80 survivors. The EU seeks solution to stop human trafficking. In 2014 more than 170 thousand people reached Italy.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has confirmed today that the shipwreck that took place two days ago off the coast of Libya has cost the lives of 800 migrants and constitutes the "worst tragedy" to date in the Mediterranean.

The figure emerged after interviews with the majority of the 27 survivors who arrived in Sicily yesterday. In shock, the migrants said that the boat overturned when a Portuguese merchant ship approached and the crowd, massed on the bridge, all moved to one side causing the boat to capsize.

According to survivors’ accounts, the ship had left Egypt and had stopped in Tripoli, Libya, to load more migrants. Many of them were closed in the hold below, and there met with their death. The survivors are from Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea and Bangladesh, at least 150 Syrians had also been loaded on the boat.

Based on the testimonies of those who escaped death, Italian police arrested two of the survivors suspected of being traffickers. One is a Tunisian and the other Syrian,  the captain and first mate of the sunken ship.

Yesterday, in an emergency meeting, the European Union decided to strengthen patrols to control the Mediterranean, to target human trafficking organizations and to work with the countries of origin of migrants to try to dissuade people to take to the sea ​​in these "journeys of hope".

These trips cost about 4 thousand euro per person; there are more and more women and children among migrants. It is thought that there were at least 50 women and children up to 10-12 years of age who died in the sinking two days ago.

According to Frontex, the EU agency that monitors borders, in 2014 more than 170 thousand migrants arrived in Italy, the highest number to a single nation in the history of the EU. The previous year there were 40 thousand arrivals. Every single person left from Libya.

Another path is from the east, in which migrants pass through Turkey and arrive in Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus.  50 830 arrived through this route.

Even as the EU were discussing what to do, two other rescue operations were performed off Libya, with two barges carrying a 100-150 people and the other 300 people.

Meanwhile, a boat carrying dozens of migrants sunk a few meters from the coast of the island of Rhodes. Three people died and 80 were brought to shore by the Coast Guard and the local population.

Of the whole tide of migrants, last year 626 thousand people sought asylum in the EU, of whom at least one-fifth are Syrians. The requests are made for the most part to Germany (203 thousand); then to Sweden (81 thousand); and Italy (65 thousand).


See also

12/04/2013 ITALY - ISLAM
Between parties and religions, Oasis debuts in Rome
Published by the foundation of the same name chaired by Card Angelo Scola, the international multilingual journal makes its debut in Rome with a debate on "Transition with whom? Religions and parties put to the test of democracy". AsiaNews editor Fr Bernardo Cervellera, Istituto Affari Internazionali scientific advisor Roberto Aliboni IAI and Massimo Borghesi, full professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Perugia are among who will take part in the discussion.

14/03/2007 ITALY – RUSSIA
More than business behind Putin’s visit to Italy
The Russian president inked the last economic and trade deals in Italy before flying off to Greece. His reasons to visit Rome and the Vatican largely reflect Russia’s eternal fear of encirclement and its quest for ‘warm’ waters.

18/01/2018 13:54:00 THAILAND – MYANMAR
Caritas Thailand defending the rights of migrant workers

The country has one of the largest migrant population in all of Southeast Asia, some 4-5 million, plus about a million illegal migrants. A new law on undocumented workers came into effect on 1st January. Starting last June, workers from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos have been leaving in droves.

14/06/2010 NEPAL
Nepal becomes new transit point for migrants on their way to Arab countries
Nepalis’ good reputation as workers in Arab countries sees Indians and Bangladeshis forced to change their identity after falling into the hands of human traffickers. Some 1,200 Bangladeshis are stopped trying to emigrate to Arab countries on fake Nepali passports costing to US$ 5,000.

14/11/2017 16:21:00 PHILIPPINES
In Manila ASEAN commits itself to protecting migrant workers

Fair treatment, family rights, and papers are at the heart of the signed agreement. Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos describes the deal as “caring and helpful”. It is the “centrepiece” of the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship. Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have 6.5 million immigrants, 96 per cent of the total. In 2015, migrants sent US$ 62 billion in remittances to their home countries.

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