EU-Africa: Criticism as migrant death toll reaches 1,000

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Following a series of shipwrecks and deaths, as well as reports in the Guardian newspaper about the failure to rescue migrants in boats or dinghies that are adrift by ships and patrols deployed in the Mediterranean by NATO and the EU to stop migrants reaching Europe, Migreurop has issued a press release to mark the fact that over 1,000 people have died in this context since January 2011.

It argues that "Faced by the historic events that are stirring the Arab world, the reaction by European countries has been to exert pressure on the political forces arising from popular uprisings (the Tunisian provisional government, the Libyan national transition council) in order for them to fully assume the heritage of repression and denial of freedom of the EU's dictator-partners". Actions by Frontex and NATO, particularly the failure to assist migrants who are in distress at sea, are described as violations of the 1951 Geneva Convention, international maritime law and as contradicting the "responsiblity to protect" slogan that is mooted by the international coalition as the reason for intervention in Libya.

The United Against Racism network has updated its list of refugee deaths with data from the start of 2011, which records 1,108 estimated deaths until 8 April 2011, including three shipwrecks in which over 200 people who set off from north Africa are believed to have perished. The number of deaths has grown in recent weeks, with shipwrecks including a rubber dinghy that sank off the coast of Granada in Spain, in which 18 people went missing and four bodies were recovered on 7 May 2011.


Migreurop press release, 11.5.11, "Deadly grip in the Mediterranean Sea. Hundreds of boat people killed by the international coalition's inaction"

"Étau mortel en mer Méditerranée. Des centaines de boat people tués par l'in-action de la coalition internationale"

"Mecanismo mortífero en el Mediterráneo. Cientos de boat people muertos por la inacción de la coalición internacional"

APDHA statement about the shipwreck in Granada, 7.5.11

United Against Racism, "List of 15181 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe" 4.5.11

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