28 March 2012
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ROME, 3 February 2009 - Tunis, Melilla, Syros, Bodrum, Dakar, Oran, Lampedusa. The list of victims of immigration at the gates of Europe is getting longer. In January, they were at least 62, bringing the overall number of migrants who have died at borders [since 1998] to 13,413. The figures are from the Fortress Europe observatory on the victims of immigration, and are based on news items reported in the international press. The latest shipwreck was on 29 January 2009 in Hammam Lif, a town twelve kilometres away from Tunis. Eight disappeared on the route towards Lampedusa and Linosa.
Ten days earlier in those same waters, 26 people disappeared off La Marsa. In January, there were 35 deaths in the channel of Sicily. The balance off the Spanish coasts is serious as well. Twenty people have been recorded as disappearances in the last month in the province of Oran. Nothing is known about twelve others. The families are only aware about them leaving on the night of the past 2 January. Since then, none of them has contacted their relatives. On the other side of Africa, in Senegal, four women drowned on 10 January after the pirogue in which they travelling towards the Canary islands capsized. This confirms the fact that the routes towards Spain are becoming increasingly longer, in order to avoid European patrols. In fact, from Dakar, Fuerteventura is at least 12 days' navigation away.
Then there is Greece. Five bodies were fished out of the water in Bodrum on 29 January 2009, victims of a shipwreck that nobody knows anything about. A fortnight earlier, on 13 January, it was an 18-year-old child who lost his life. He was travelling in a rubber dinghy with his mother. The vessel capsized during rescue operations by the Greek coastguard, and he drowned. But people do not only die in the sea at the gates of Europe. At least not in Morocco. In fact, on the night of New Year's Eve, it was the shots fired by the Moroccan border police that killed a young sub-Saharan emigrant, along the six-metre-high barrier that surrounds the 14-kilometre border of the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Seriously injured, the youth died in El Hassani hospital in Nador shortly afterwards.
Fortress Europe, January 2009 round-up
Fortress Europe homepage
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