Already more than 1,000 migrants killed or missing in the Mediterranean in 2017

Already more than 1,000 people have been reported dead or missing in 2017 while trying to cross the Mediterranean in search for a life in safety and dignity, figures published today by two UN agencies show. Also today, the European Court of Auditors has criticized appalling gaps in the EU’s ‘hotspot’ approach for receiving migrants.

In response, Oxfam International’s Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said:

On the death of migrants in the Mediterranean:

“The people who try to reach Europe are often desperate in their search for a life in safety and dignity for themselves and their families. For many, risking their lives in unseaworthy boats is the only option to escape violence, disasters and poverty.

“So far, EU member states have relied on shutting down their borders. But this does not stop people from looking for safety, dignity and a better life. On the contrary, the lack of safe and regular routes to reach Europe pushes many to rely on smugglers and increases the suffering of people.

“EU member states must expand safe and regular alternatives for people in need, so they are not forced to risk their lives in search of safety and dignity.”

On the Court of Auditors report:

“The suffering of migrants does not stop with the dangerous sea crossing. This new report confirms how many people, are forced to live in inadequate conditions, with children’s welfare in many cases put at risk. Oxfam’s own research in Greece and Italy has shown how people in ‘hotspots’ are caught in legal limbo and confusion, with their basic human rights being trampled on.

“EU member states must rethink their approach to managing migration, moving away from detention and harsh conditions to providing fair and transparent asylum procedures, decent accommodation and better access to basic services such as healthcare.”

Notes to editors: 
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

For updates, please follow @Oxfam and @OxfamEU