Working With Realities Rather Than Illusions

On 29th of September 2014, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released its report “Fatal Journey: Tracking Lives Lost During Migration” concluding that more than 4000 people have died in 2014 (between Jan.-Sept. 2014) due to migration worldwide. Including the number of 2014, the death toll surpassed 40,000 counting from the year 2000. Out of 40,000 there are about 22,000 migrants who died in the Mediterranean region.

However, because of the lack of global monitors, there is no accurate data on the death of migrants. Recently Pro Asyl released news that more than 3000 people had died when they were trying to reach Europe so far in 2014, although the number is in line with the one in IOM report. If we look at the numbers one more time, it is worth to highlight that till now in 2014, around three quarter of the 4000 died in the Mediterranean region. It increased by nearly 70 per cent comparing to 2013. The numbers are in general estimates based on the work of different organisations but actually expected to be much higher. The difficulty to keep track of the accurate number is attributed to the fact that many cases happen in a large scale of area.

Amnesty International’s (AI) “Lives Adrift report” further addressed the situation in the Mediterranean, which you can read about in detail here. AI is concerned that if the rescue “Operation Mare Nostrum” (OMN) is, as mentioned in another commentary on the blog of Alignment for Dignity, “watered down and replaced by the Frontex operation ‘Triton’”, the situation for those at sea will get even worse. OMN is an Italian rescue operation with a monthly budget of 9 million Euro within its range of 120 nautical miles off the Italian coast in the International water. While operation “Triton” is a border control operation with an estimated budget of 2.9 million Euro and with a range of only 30 nautical miles. On 1st of November, “Triton” will start its operation in the central Mediterranean as decided by the European Council replacing OMN. Unless no comparable operation is launched, international waters will not be protected; the number of fatality on the way to Europe will rise. Even though from October 2013 OMN saved more than 140,000 people, it still failed to prevent the occurrence of many tragedies out of the European borders. It is an illusion to think that the flow of people reaching out for a more save and promising place including Europe will decline in the near future. Instead it is reasonable to assume that the numbers mentioned in the beginning actually have to be further revised upwards. Therefore it is the time to increase inputs rather than to reduce resources and capacities in order to assure that more lives are saved instead of vanishing in the sea without a trace.

– Dominik