Arriving in Spain for migrants is increasingly dangerous. More than 40% of migrants who lost their lives on their way to Spain have died in the last three years. This is what emerges from the report “Human rights on the southern border 2023. 35 years of lives without a trace”, presented by the Andalusian Association for Human Rights (Apdha) on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is celebrated tomorrow. According to the association, at least 5,744 people have died or disappeared in the last three years, bringing the total to 14,109. 2021 was the year with the highest number of fatalities (at least 2,126), followed by 2022.
“According to our monitoring, 1,901 people died or went missing in the last year. This means that every day more than five people have lost their lives trying to enter Spanish territory from Africa. In other words, about every four and a half hours a person dies or disappears on the migratory route to Spain”» explained the association.
Migrants who try to enter Spain from Africa do so in two ways: by ship they try to reach the Canary Islands, with a very dangerous crossing, or they try to enter Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish enclaves in African territory. According to the Apdha organization, among the causes of death, in addition to the migrants falling into the sea, are the lack of food or water, the aspiration of toxic substances, burns caused by the mixture of sea water and petrol. These deaths are not “an accidental event”, but are “the result of specific migration policies that seek to waterproof the southern border through the militarization of routes, the externalization of migration control, the criminalization of flows and the depersonalization of victims” , denounces the association.
The Central Mediterranean route is also very busy and very dangerous, the one that leads to Italy, or to Malta, from Libya. According to the latest data from Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, in 2023, precisely from 1 January to 11 March, 3449 migrants were intercepted and repatriated to Libya, 170 died and another 130 are missing. In 2022 there were 529 dead on this route, 848 missing, in 2021 there were 662 dead and 891 missing, again according to Frontex data.
Less busy at the moment is the Eastern Mediterranean route, which leads to Greece and much less still the Balkan land route. Also thanks to the walls that have been erected for some years to prevent entry into Europe. There are some in Lithuania with the Belarusian border, in Greece with the Turkish border, Bulgaria, in Hungary with the Serbian and Croatian borders, and then those of Poland, Estonia, Latvia.