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Mediterrannean migratory pressure

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UN notes ′dramatic increase′ in migrants arriving in Mediterranean | News | DW.DE | 09.06.2015. Since the beginning of 2015, some 54,000 migrants have safely reached the shores of Italy. Another 48,000 have arrived in Greece. By comparison, 34,000 migrants arrived in Greece throughout the entirety of 2014. A further 920 migrants also landed in Spain and 91 in Malta, the UNHCR said.

Included in the latest figures are almost 6,000 people, most of them sub-Saharan Africans, who were rescued by EU coastguards off Libya last weekend. UNHCR "is stepping up its presence in Greece and in southern Italy in response to the dramatic increase in numbers of refugees and migrants who we have been seeing arriving," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday. As well as the numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean rapidly increasing, mass drownings have also become more common in recent months; 1,800 lives were lost as a result in the first half of this year. Figures set to rise ksb/msh (AFP, dpa) An extraordinary escape: survivors of migrant boat disaster tell their stories. When more than 800 people drowned last month in the Mediterranean’s worst modern shipwreck, Ibrahim Mbalo almost joined the dead at the bottom of the sea. As the boat began to sink below the surface, Mbalo, a 20-year-old Gambian labourer, was trapped underwater below decks, unable to escape.

When the water gushed in, another drowning man had pulled him by his trousers towards the bottom of the flooded cabin, which was now essentially a massive water tank filled with flailing men. Mbalo was stuck. “Will I die?” He thought as he was dragged downwards. Through extraordinary perseverance and luck, Mbalo achieved the latter – one of just 28 young men to make it out alive. Samba Kamar, 20, hadn’t even wanted to be on the boat in the first place. For a year, Kamar worked as a labourer for a wealthy Libyan.

“I thought I was going to Mali,” Kamar remembered. By Kamar’s account, he, Yamadou and their fellow prisoners were held under duress in a cramped house for a month and 18 days. “Will I die?” The Guardian view on Mediterranean migrants: a rescue plan with many flaws | Editorial. European citizens could be forgiven for thinking that the Mediterranean migrant crisis is being thoroughly addressed by their political leaders. There has been a flurry of summitry and activism since a series of catastrophes off the Italian coast caused the deaths of more than 1,000 migrants over a few days in April. The latest high-level gathering came on Monday when EU defence and foreign ministers decided on an eye-catching military operation aimed at disrupting trafficking networks.

Other measures on the table include an EU plan for quotas of migrants for each member state to accept. Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, was quick to proclaim that Europe was taking action in “record” time. It is, of course, welcome if Europe is at last mobilising to save lives at sea. There is still no real clarity on how the EU will change the bleak realities off its shores. The military aspect of the plans is also problematic. Italian coastguards: military action will not solve Mediterranean migrant crisis. The Italian coastguards leading migrant rescue missions in the southern Mediterranean have voiced concern about the EU’s migration strategy, arguing that military operations will not stop migration to Europe and calling instead for European navies to prioritise search-and-rescue missions.

Speaking on Monday before EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch military operations against Libyan smugglers, coastguard captain Paolo Cafaro said a military campaign would not eradicate the root causes of the Mediterranean crisis. His colleagues Admiral Giovanni Pettorino and Capt Leopoldo Manna called for an increased focus on saving migrants’ lives, with Manna urging European navies, including that of Britain, to give him more control over their boats in order to streamline Mediterranean search-and-rescue activities. All three are senior officers within Italy’s Guardia Costiera, a semi-autonomous wing of the Italian navy. Mediterranean migrants are not slaves – do not pervert history to justify military action | Julia O’Connell Davidson. EU leaders this week announced that their response to the staggering loss of life among migrants crossing the Mediterranean in unseaworthy vessels would be military action.

They aim to employ deadly force to smash the so-called “networks” that operate out of Libya to orchestrate the perilous sea crossings. There will be “collateral damage”, they acknowledge: adults and children boarding or on the vessels under attack will be killed. But this does not deter them. Why not? In recent years, policy on unauthorised movement across borders has drawn a distinction between the activities of “people smugglers” and those of “human traffickers”.

This elision allows EU leaders to justify their decision to employ military force on the north African coast as a “tough choice” forced upon them by the sudden appearance of a far greater evil – a modern slave trade. The EU leaders present themselves as modern-day William Wilberforces, embarking on a high-minded crusade. Is this the Solution to Europe's Migrant Problem? May 11, 2015 Migrants rest after disembarking from a tug boat in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, southern Italy, May 4. Nearly 5,800 migrants were plucked from boats off the coast of Libya and ten bodies were recovered in less than 48 hours, Italy's coast guard said, in one of the biggest rescue operations this year. (Reuters/Antonio Parrinello) The European Union wants the United Nations to support its plan to destroy human traffickers’ ships in Libyan territorial waters before smugglers use them to ferry migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. No, said Karim Mezran, Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

“To say out loud that foreign military forces will target the smugglers’ ships is just giving them a sign. On May 11, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini urged the UN Security Council to authorize military action to bomb smugglers’ empty boats in Libyan waters. Not everyone is lucky enough to survive the journey. Libya's people smugglers: military action won't stop this multifaceted trade. In the small Libyan port of Zuwara, one of the main points of departure for migrants seeking to reach Italy, dozens if not hundreds of fishing boats line the quay. It’s an innocuous sight: blue wooden skiffs knocking against each other in the breeze. But if Europe wants to use military force to smash Libya’s smuggling trade, these are the boats they will have to destroy.

On Monday, the EU seeks to persuade the UN security council to back military operations against smuggling fleets in Zuwara and other coastal towns up and down Libya’s western seaboard. But even with the UN’s go-ahead, such a strategy may not be straightforward – and the blue boats bobbing in the harbour in Zuwara illustrate why. Contrary to mainstream portrayals, Libya’s smugglers are not one cohesive organisation with a clear chain of command, or identifiable assets. Instead, they usually source their boats on a trip-by-trip basis from local fishermen. Arresting or killing the smugglers would also be a struggle.

Somaliland: Risking torture for a better life abroad. Hargeisa, Somaliland - Outside his two bedroom house made of tin in the heart of Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway Somaliland region, Kosar Dhool cuts an exhausted figure burdened with events far heavier than his slim frame can bear. The father of five has been receiving phone calls from his son, Hamza, who has been captured and held for ransom by human smugglers in an unknown location in Libya. "He called to say they are going to take out his kidneys and sell them for money if I don't pay the $2,100 ransom," Dhool told Al Jazeera, sitting on a plastic chair under a tree that barely provided shade from the boiling midday sun. Hamza, 18, is a bright high school student with much promise ahead of him. He is well-liked in his neighbourhood and everyone here is in a state of shock at his capture.

For the past two years, Dhool had been working extra shifts to save up enough money to send Hamza to university in the hope he would then be able to help the family support his younger siblings. Africa′s media silent over Mediterranean refugee crisis | Africa | DW.DE | 27.04.2015. Tens of thousands of refugees risk their lives trying to get to Europe. Surprisingly this sort of news rarely makes front page in Africa. 'The migrant boat tragedy is not just Europe's problem,' a title by the 'Daily Maverick', a South African daily, silently screams. "The African Union communications department has been very busy lately, issuing statements on subjects as varied and diverse as the Sudanese elections, the killing of Ethiopian citizens by "Islamic State" (IS) in Libya, the xenophobic violence in South Africa and the marketing of Africa's 'Agenda 2063' to Polish investors.

Nothing, however, on the boatloads of Africans risking everything to escape the continent. The paper goes on to say "In late 2014, the AU partnered with the EU to launch the Khartoum Process, which aims to facilitate dialogue amongst countries involved in migration routes to try and find a way to address the root causes of irregular migration. Refugee crisis is Africa's problem too Tale of human smugglers. Escaping Eritrea: 'If I die at sea, it's not a problem – at least I won't be tortured' | Global development. Like many of her fellow Eritrean refugees, Sofia, who managed to escape northwards to Cairo, has a very simple reason for fleeing her homeland. “In Eritrea you’re even afraid to talk to your family,” she says. “The person next to me [in a cafe] could be a spy, and they are looking at what you are doing. People disappear every day.” One day, a friend made the innocent mistake of striking up a conversation with a man in a cafe who later turned out to be from the Libyan embassy.

“They were just chatting. This, says Sofia, is the daily reality of life in Eritrea, whose citizens are second only to Syrians when it comes to risking dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 37,000 Eritreans applied for asylum in 38 European countries over the first 10 months of last year, compared with about 13,000 in the same period in 2013.

Others bitterly disagree. Migrant boat crisis: the story of the Greek hero on the beach. It was an image that came to symbolise desperation and valour: the desperation of those who will take on the sea – and the men who ferry human cargo across it – to flee the ills that cannot keep them in their own countries. And the valour of those on Europe’s southern shores who rush to save them when tragedy strikes. Last week on the island of Rhodes, war, repression, dictatorship in distant Eritrea were far from the mind of army sergeant Antonis Deligiorgis. The world inhabited by Wegasi Nebiat, a 24-year-old Eritrean in the cabin of a yacht sailing towards the isle, was still far away. At 8am on Monday there was nothing that indicated the two would meet. Stationed in Rhodes, the burly soldier accompanied his wife, Theodora, on the school run. Deligiorgis had his back to the sea when the vessel carrying Nebiat struck the jagged rocks fishermen on Rhodes grow up learning to avoid.

“The boat disintegrated in a matter of minutes,” the father-of-two recalled. [Elysium] Those maps show the extent of the tragedy of the migrants trying to reach Europe. Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes [ eng – fr ] Ever since the first days of the EU, clandestine migration has stretched the European approach between populism and the desire to uphold progressive values. The desire to prove that continent had left behind the scars of a great war and several smaller ones; that did away with colonialism and has become a beacon for tolerance and acceptance. Those maps show to which extend the migratory tragedies are highly dependent on the conflicts occurring at the periphery of the continent. Numbers had dropped between 2008 and 2010, spiked in 2011 during the Arab Spring, decreased again in 2012, before rising again in 2013 with the conflict in Syria. They also show how the smuggling routes are opportunistically mapped to the trail of human misery brought by wars, persecutions, and dictatorships.

So clearly the problem will no go away without a regional approach, and no narrow-minded national(istic) approach will ever get rid of it. World, wake up: Mediterranean migrant deaths are your problem, too - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz. EU borders chief says saving migrants' lives 'shouldn't be priority' for patrols. The head of the EU border agency has said that saving migrants’ lives in the Mediterranean should not be the priority for the maritime patrols he is in charge of, despite the clamour for a more humane response from Europe following the deaths of an estimated 800 people at sea at the weekend.

On the eve of an emergency EU summit on the immigration crisis, Fabrice Leggeri, the head of Frontex, flatly dismissed turning the Triton border patrol mission off the coast of Italy into a search and rescue operation. He also voiced strong doubts about new EU pledges to tackle human traffickers and their vessels in Libya. “Triton cannot be a search-and-rescue operation. I mean, in our operational plan, we cannot have provisions for proactive search-and-rescue action. This is not in Frontex’s mandate, and this is in my understanding not in the mandate of the European Union,” Leggeri told the Guardian. The capsizing of a trawler off Libya late on Saturday sparked a public outcry.

IOM: Mediterranean death toll could top 30,000 in 2015. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has warned that, based on current figures, the migrant death toll on the Mediterranean this year could top 30,000. The IOM said late on Tuesday that it believed 1,727 migrants have died trying to make the journey to Europe from North Africa so far this year, compared to just 56 at the same time last year. "IOM now fears that the 2014 total of 3,279 migrant deaths may be surpassed this year in a matter of weeks," the group said in a statement. "We just want to make sure people understand how much more ... rapid these deaths have been coming this year," IOM spokesman Joel Millman said earlier on Tuesday.

INTERACTIVE: The ongoing tragedy of migrants and the Mediterranean The IOM's warning came as the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, said it believed that an incident over the weekend was the deadliest on record. "Only 28 people are known to have survived the shipwreck," UNHCR spokesman Arian Edwards told journalists in Geneva. What’s Behind the Surge in Refugees Crossing the Mediterranean Sea. About 450 migrants disembarked from an Italian Navy ship in Augusta, Sicily, on Wednesday after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea. Lynsey Addario for The New York Times Seeking Asylum in Europe Many refugees sought asylum in countries like Germany and Sweden, which have been relatively open to immigrants. As the refugee surge continues, debate is growing in the European Union about the lack of unified immigration policies and funding for migrant rescue operations. European foreign and defense ministers agreed on May 18 to use naval forces to intercept and disrupt ships used by smugglers.

Sweden had the most asylum applicants per capita, with 8.4 applicants per 1,000 residents, which is nearly twice as many as the second- ranked country, Hungary. Asylum applicants per 1,000 people in 2014 Italy had more than 170,000 refugees arrive in 2014, many of whom sought asylum in other European countries. Deaths at Sea Estimates of refugees who were lost or died at sea since January 2014 Western.

Migration. UN expert: rich countries must take in one million refugees to stop boat deaths. UN's François Crépeau on the refugee crisis: 'Instead of resisting migration, let's organise it' The Guardian view on the Mediterranean migrants: every life is a precious life | Editorial. EU to launch military operations against migrant-smugglers in Libya.

Unprecedented Refugee Crisis

The EU stands by as thousands of migrants drown in the Mediterranean. SAR outfit calls for ‘outside the box’ thinking. Pascal Wicht on Twitter: "Shift your perspective: “Borderless Mediterranean Sea” by @sabinerethore... Thousands of Migrants Rescued Off Italian Coast as Situation in Libya Deteriorates. Danger on the Deep Blue Sea. EU ‘burying heads in the sand’ as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy. Migrants drowned in Mediterranean 'could have been saved' Migrant Offshore Aid Station Trailer. MOAS - Migrant Offshore Aid Station. Millionaire couple based in Malta rescuing illegal migrants in the Mediterranean Sea « Refugee Resettlement Watch.

The millionaires who rescue people at sea.

Vice - Europe or Die

Left to die. Mediterranean. The Refugee Project. Border Burden. ICS Reaffirms Migrant Rescue Obligation. Jesuit Refugee Service | France: Pope Francis visits European Parliament. Eu-frontex-2015-work-programme.pdf. EPRS_ATA(2015)548974_REV1_EN.pdf. The Deadly Mediterranean Crossing That Migrants Risk Every Day.

World | Europe | Chirac warns of 'African flood' Global Initiative | Smuggled futures: the dangerous path of a migrant from Africa to Europe. Spain sees surge of migrants by sea from Morocco. Questions and Answers - Smuggling of Migrants in Europe and the EU Response. Europe's ethical dilemma over migrants. Desperation, dire conditions for migrants fleeing to Europe. Saba Net - Yemen news agency. Cargo Ship Found Adrift Carrying Almost 1,000 Migrants Docks in Italy. 'Massacre' at sea: Italy arrests five over killings of more than 100 on migrant boat. The Migrants Files - Migrants/LaBestia::Keith Dannemiller Photojournalist. ‘Flee or die’: violence drives Central America’s child migrants to US border | World news. Yes, Tony Abbott has 'stopped the boats'. But the cost is catastrophic.

Italy Rescues 5,200 Migrants From Mediterranean. USS Bataan Rescues 282 Persons in Distress. U.S. Navy rescues 282 apparent migrants in Mediterranean. Thousands of migrants rescued off Italy. UN considers Africa holding centres for migrants. Europe faces 'colossal humanitarian catastrophe' of refugees dying at sea | World news. Italy sounds alarm as 4,000 immigrants land. Understanding the surge in migrant boat crossings to Europe | Global | Human Rights | Migration.

Updated - Italy threatens to release refugees into EU unless help increases. Will Europe let more refugees and migrants die at sea? Italy rescues more than 3,500 migrants, Renzi asks for help : World : Daily Zone. EU Earmarking Billions to ‘Secure’ Borders. CCTV shows thousands of migrants storming border into Spanish enclave.

Hundreds of migrants scale barrier between Morocco and Melilla. The Chairman of Melilla. A report from Spanish intelligence says that 30,000 Sub-Saharans are preparing to cross to Moroccan border to Ceuta and Melilla. - Andalucía - Spain news - Spanish News in English - - Illegally crossing the Spain-Melilla border. 1,000 migrants storm Spain's African border. European Union agrees to set up holding camps for refugees.