Geneva – As 2019 draws to a close, the International Organization for Migration reports that there has been a sharp decline in the number of migrants dying while attempting to cross international borders.
Migrant fatalities reached at least 3,170 by mid-December, compared to just over 4,800 this time last year, representing a 34 per cent fall. Despite this, the trends identified by IOM in 2019 remain stark for migrants and for refugees.
The Mediterranean, the scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. However, the death rate among migrants departing Libya’s shores increased as smugglers put them at ever great risk.
The outflow of people from Venezuela has meanwhile left millions of people in severe hardship as they attempt to escape instability to seek opportunities and protection in neighbouring countries.
The emerging trends highlighted by IOM in 2019 include:
Global deaths of migrants crossing borders irregularly declined sharply
Mediterranean sea crossings reached their lowest level since 2014P
Horn of Africa crossings to Yemen now average over 10,000 persons per month
4.8 million Venezuelans are living abroad, mostly in Colombia, Perú, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil
Mediterranean Sea crossings by irregular migrants from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia
Irregular migration via departure points in Turkey, Libya and across North Africa topped 100,000 men, women and children for the sixth consecutive year. More than 13,000 migrants entered Europe via land routes along the Mediterranean, either by entering Greece near border crossings with Turkey, or entering Spain through the two Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa.
While 100,000 is significant, the volume of Mediterranean crossings in 2019 shows a steep decline over recent years (see chart above). In fact, barring a year-end surge, 2019 will see the lowest number of irregular migrants on the Mediterranean since IOM began compiling such statistics in 2014.
While departures from Libya decreased in 2019, the journey remains as deadly as ever. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 44 fatal incidents off the Libyan coast this year claiming the lives of 743 migrants. This signals the needs for increased search and rescue capacity to minimize loss of life at sea, especially in the Central Mediterranean Route, which remains the world’s deadliest sea crossing.
HORN OF AFRICA
IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in 2019 recorded 126,360 irregular migrants through November crossing to Yemen from the Horn of Africa, the vast majority (92 per cent) leaving from Ethiopia with most of the balance from Somalia. DTM estimates this year’s total will surpass 137,000 migrants on this route, which remains one of the most dangerous in the world.
The total is expected to represent a slight decline from the nearly 160,000 irregular migrants tallied on this route during 2018. Over the past two years, irregular migration between this corridor of Africa headed towards the Arabian Peninsula has averaged upwards of 12,000 per month.
MIGRANTS IN EUROPEAN RECEPTION CENTRES
As of 15 December, DTM reports there were an estimated 211,071 migrants in official reception centres in the region.1 While there has been little change in the total number of migrants in the region when compared to the 206,108 migrants in the same countries at the end of 2018, the figures per country show different dynamics: The most significant changes have been in Italy and Greece. In Italy, the total has fallen throughout 2019 from 135,838 reported on December 2018 to 95,020 reported on 30 November. In Greece, the total has risen from 60,083 reported on 26 December 2018 to 99,142 on 30 November.
As of 30 November 2019, there were over four million foreign nationals present in Turkish territory seeking international protection, compared to 3.9 million at the end of 2018. Most of them are Syrians (3,691,333 individuals) who are granted temporary protection status, followed by asylum-seekers and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia. The Turkish Coast Guard reported 56,778 apprehensions of irregular migrants at sea between January and November.
Irregular migration continues to be a lethal endeavor around the world, with the Mediterranean corridor still the deadliest. Through mid-December at least 1,250 men, women and children had died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, including eight new victims reported on 17 December by authorities in Morocco.
This year marks the fifth straight of at least 1,000 deaths on the Mediterranean. IOM’s Missing Migrants project reports that, since 2014, more than 19,000 migrants and refugees have died on the Mediterranean Sea, more than two thirds of that total perishing on the central Mediterranean route linking Libya and Tunisia to Italy.
Worldwide, migrant fatalities through 50 weeks of 2019 are slightly more than 3,170, compared to nearly 4,831 at this same time last year. Fatalities are down on the Mediterranean, in North Africa and the Middle East and Asia, and up slightly in Europe.
By contrast, the number of migrant fatalities in the Western Hemisphere is up. Hundreds have died fleeing Venezuela, including in shipwrecks in the Caribbean. Through Mid-December at least 659 men, women and children have died crossing the Americas, which compares with 583 during the same period last year.
IOM DTM Europe Flow Monitoring
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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