International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 3,000-plus refugees die trying to reaching Europe in 2016

July 26, 2016 1:00 pm

People stand in front of graffiti
depicting Syrian refugee boy Alan Kurdi, who drowned while trying to
reach with his family, at the harbor in Frankfurt am Main,
Germany, July 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The International
Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 3,000 refugees have died
trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2016.

“The
latest discovery of 39 bodies washed up on Libyan shores this week
brings the number of casualties to over 3,034 among the migrants and
refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in
2016,” the IOM said on Tuesday.
The body said that 250,000 refugees had made the journey.
The
IOM, meanwhile, said this year’s death toll was “significantly higher
compared to last year as of end of July 2015, when 1,917 had lost their
lives at sea.”
Separately, the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that more than 10,000 Europe-bound
refugees, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, have died or gone missing in the
Mediterranean since 2014.
Late last year, the UNHCR had said at least 1.4 million refugees would be in Europe by the end of 2016.
Risking
life and limb, around 1.2 million asylum seekers reached the continent
in 2015, mostly fleeing conflict and insufferable living conditions in
the Middle East.
Many blame support by some Western countries for
the militants operating in the Middle East for increased violence in the
areas, in turn forcing the departure of more people from their home
countries.
Struggling to curb the crisis, Europe’s worst since
World War II, the European Union struck a deal with Turkey back in
March. Under the agreement, Turkey agreed to take back all the asylum
seekers and refugees reaching Europe via its territory in return for
financial aid, visa liberalization and the acceleration of membership
negotiations.
Observers say that in striking the accord, the EU
violated its own laws as the bloc is not entitled to redirect refugees
to a non-EU country like Turkey.
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