IOM: 29,000 Deaths during Migration Journeys to Europe since 2014

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported more than 29,000 deaths during migration journeys to Europe since 2014.

IOM also recorded at least 5,684 deaths on migration routes to and within Europe since the beginning of 2021, with increasing numbers of deaths seen on routes across the Mediterranean, on land borders to Europe and within the continent.

Julia Black, author of a new IOM report on Missing Migrants Project data in Europe for 2021 said that “these continuing deaths are another grim reminder that more legal and safe pathways to migration are desperately needed.”

“There are people from 52 countries who have died on migration routes to and within Europe in our dataset,” said Black. “The scale of this issue – and the impact on families and communities dealing with unresolved losses – means there is no solution to this issue without buy-in from the authorities.”

She also called on States in Europe and beyond to take urgent and concrete action to save lives and reduce deaths during migration journeys.

At least 2,836 deaths and disappearances were documented on the Central Mediterranean route since 2021 (as of 24 October 2022), an increase compared to the 2,262 deaths recorded between 2019-2020.

On the West Africa-Atlantic route to the Spanish Canary Islands, 1,532 deaths were documented in the reporting period, a figure already higher than any two-year period since IOM began documenting deaths in 2014.

Since 2021, increases in the death toll on many other European routes have been documented compared to prior years, notably on the Türkiye-Greece land border (126 deaths documented), the Western Balkans route (69), the English Channel crossing (53), at Belarus-European Union (EU) borders (23) and deaths of Ukrainians fleeing the recent conflict (17).

Reports from survivors relayed to IOM indicate that at least 252 people died during alleged forced expulsions by European authorities, also known as pushbacks, since 2021.

Therefore, we call on European authorities to take urgent and concrete action to save lives and reduce deaths during migration journeys. States must uphold the right to life for all people by preventing further deaths and disappearances.

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