According to a September 29 article by Al Jazeera, the United Nations has said that more than 2,500 migrants and refugees have gone missing or lost their lives trying to cross into Europe across the Mediterranean in in 2023. This is a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of refugees missing or dead compared to the same period in 2022, based on the figures in the article.
“We continue to bear witness to the tragedies of lives lost at sea and on land routes with no end in sight,” said Ruven Menikdiwela, the director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in New York.
She pointed to incidents of racism in and expulsions from North African countries as well as other oppressions experienced “in a broader context of deterioration in the security situations of several countries neighboring North Africa,” which has led to an increase in the number of refugees making their way to Europe. According to Menikdiwela, about 186,000 migrants arrived in southern Europe by sea from January to September 24, 2023. Al Jazeera reported that 83 percent of them landed in Italy.
Europe, which has one of the world’s highest standards of living, continues to be a destination of choice for migrants and refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Africa. However, European countries, also known colloquially as “Fortress Europe,” have made migrating to the continent more difficult. Partly as a result, the people attempting to reach there “risk death and gross human rights violations at every step,” said Menikdiwela, according to Al Jazeera.
This article was published by the Globetrotter News Service