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News & Events: EU and the Region

IOM Releases New Data on Migrant Fatalities: Almost 40,000 Since 2000

The Missing Migrants Project | Migrants Deaths on World Borders, Jan-Sept 2014

29 Sep 2014 - IOM today released “Fatal Journeys: Tracking lives lost during migration”, the world’s most comprehensive tally of migrant fatalities across land and sea. With a count surpassing 40,000 victims since 2000, IOM calls on all the world’s governments to address what it describes as “an epidemic of crime and victimization.” “Our message is blunt: migrants are dying who need not,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, “It is time to do more than count the number of victims. It is time to engage the world to stop this violence against desperate migrants.” The report, compiled under IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, indicates Europe is the world’s most dangerous destination for “irregular” migration, costing the lives of over 3,000 migrants this year.

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IOM Says New Witnesses Provide Further Details of Mediterranean Shipwreck Tragedy

16 Sep 2014 - IOM Greece staff in Crete today interviewed more survivors of the deliberate shipwreck of migrants heading to Europe from Egypt. The survivors provided corroboration that the traffickers turned violent when the 500 migrants they were escorting to Europe refused to switch to an unseaworthy boat. According to witnesses testimony the ship had two decks with 300 people below and 200 on the upper deck. They were at sea for four days and had to change to smaller vessels three times.  Witnesses stated that the 300 people who were in the lower deck were trapped and drowned immediately.  The survivors say they watched as those thrown in the water clung to each other trying to stay alive. Sometime later a freighter picked up nine survivors.  Seven of these, including a 2 year-old girl were flown by a Greek military helicopter to hospital in Crete.  One of the survivors perished and a girl remains in critical condition. More>>

IOM recommendations to the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

IOM Logo 3 languages Black no bars27 June 2014 - Migration issues are set to take centre stage for the Italian Presidency of the EU from July to December 2014.  IOM welcomes the commitment of the Italian Presidency to ensure that migration is given top priority, as migration challenges in Europe have reached a scale and complexity that can only be addressed by collective action.

IOM’s paper offers analysis and recommendations for enhancing engagement with countries of origin and transit in key areas of migration governance such as irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling, labour migration and mobility, and return migration. 

IOM, as the leading migration agency, is committed to supporting the Italian Presidency with its expertise and operational tools.

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IOM Investigates Reports of Deliberate Drowning of 500 Migrants in Mediterranean

16 Sep 2014 - Investigators from the International Organization for Migration have obtained eyewitness testimony of a tragic incident in which as many as 500 migrants were drowned when their vessel was deliberately sunk in the Mediterranean.  IOM staff and Italian police have interviewed two survivors brought ashore to the town of Pollazzo in Sicily. Both are Palestinian men from Gaza who were rescued separately after days in the water clinging to flotation devices. They told investigators that their overcrowded vessel was sent to the bottom by enraged smugglers when demands that they move to a less seaworthy vessel were rejected by the migrants. The survivors, aged 27 and 33, who have requested asylum, described harrowing scenes as exhausted victims succumbed all around them.  These reports point to a growing death toll off Europe’s shores which this year already approaches 3,000. That’s nearly four times the figure from 2013, which IOM’s Missing Migrants Project estimated to be 700 deaths. More>>

Mediterranean Migrant Deaths Multiply in Summer Sailing Season

26 Aug 2014 - The series of tragedies last weekend in the Mediterranean marks one of the deadliest periods of 2014, with an estimated 230 migrants lost and presumed dead. With this weekend’s deaths, IOM believes that as many as 1,800 migrants may have died trying to reach Italy from North Africa so far in 2014. That is compared to an estimated 700 during the whole of 2013. “One more time, these tragic events show that something must be done to solve the problem of irregular immigration across the Mediterranean,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “The obligation to save lives surpasses everything else. But rescue at sea is not the ultimate solution. Alternatives are needed: providing safe and legal entry into Europe; resettlement opportunities; family reunification; and voluntary return for economic migrants who do not need protection,” he added.  More >>