Over 26,000 Migrants Died Or Went Missing in Mediterranean Since 2014: UN

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Over 26,000 people have perished or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean since 2014, the United Nations human rights office said on Thursday.

It added that of them, more than 20,000 have died on the central Mediterranean route, which is considered one of the world's deadliest migration routes, reports Xinhua.

Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, voiced concern on Thursday about the hazardous situation facing migrants and asylum seekers trying to cross the central Mediterranean and urged coordinated action to enable their prompt rescue and respectful, efficient and comprehensive processing at a safe site.

"We are seeing a steep increase in the number of desperate people putting their lives at grave risk," Turk said in a press release.

He urged states to open up more regular migration channels, enhance responsibility-sharing, make arrangements for the safe and timely disembarkation of all people rescued at sea, and ensure independent monitoring and oversight of migration-related policies and practices.

According to the latest press release from the office, at least four people died and more than 20 others remain missing after two migrant boats sank off Tunisia on Saturday.

Italy has reported the arrival of some 31,300 migrants arriving so far in 2023, up from around 7,900 in the same period last year.

To control the crisis, Italy declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. Turk remarked that "any new policies under the state of emergency need to be in line with Italy's human rights obligations."

"Experience teaches us that adopting a tougher line on curbing irregular migration will not prevent departures, but rather result in more human suffering and deaths at sea. Instead, it would be far better for countries to provide safe and regular pathways for migration and prevent unnecessary deaths," he said.

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