29. November 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „2016 sets new record for asylum seekers reaching Italy by boat“ · Kategorien: Italien, Libyen, Mittelmeerroute · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian | 28.11.2016

Central Mediterranean is once again the main migrant route into Europe, partly due to the chaos of civil war in Libya

Patrick Kingsley

More asylum seekers have now reached Italy by boat in 2016 than in any previous year on record.

Nearly 171,000 people have arrived in Italy from north Africa since the start of the year, according to statistics compiled by the UN refugee agency and the Italian government. As of Monday, the total had surpassed the previous record of 170,000, set in 2014.

Migration flows in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece have been drastically reduced after improvements in Turkish policing, increased threats of deportation from Greece, and the closure of a humanitarian corridor between Greece and Germany.

But Europe’s deterrent strategy has failed to cut migration in the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy, with the Italian route once again becoming the main migrant gateway into Europe.

European navies, including Britain’s, have focused on a military-style response, sending frigates to arrest smugglers in international waters.

Libyan smugglers have responded by sending passengers on board inflatable dinghies that are piloted by migrants themselves, reducing smugglers’ exposure to arrest and allowing their business to continue as normal.

The Libyan civil war has weakened the country’s law enforcement agencies, some of whom are complicit in the smuggling, leaving European governments without viable Libyan partners in their fight against migration.

The chaos there also gives migrants more incentive to leave for Europe; in previous years they could more easily find work and stability in Libya.

Pressure on transit countries in the Sahara desert, through which many African migrants pass before reaching Libya, has had no effect. Flows through Niger, the country to Libya’s south, increased in 2016, despite Niger introducing new anti-smuggling laws at the request of the EU.

Displacement in north-east Nigeria, where 1.4 million people have been forced to flee Boko Haram, may contribute to sustained levels of migration towards Europe in the future.

The numbers coming to Europe are nevertheless insignificant compared with flows within Africa itself. Just 3.3% of the world’s displaced Africans have reached Europe. More than 93% remain within their home continent.

The majority of migrants bound for Italy are fleeing poverty, wars and dictatorships in Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan and the Gambia. Syrians no longer use the Libyan route.

The breakdown of law and order has significantly worsened living conditions for foreign workers in Libya since 2011. Many report conditions tantamount to slave labour, while hundreds have been kidnapped for ransom, and sometimes tortured.

A recent survey of new arrivals in Italy by the International Organisation for Migration found that 70% of respondents had been exploited to some degree during their journey to Europe.

Other recent IOM research shows that the majority had not intended to travel to Europe when leaving home, but had been forced to change their destinations due to extenuating circumstances such as the Libyan civil war.


siehe auch: Libya Herald | 26.11.2016

Migrants continued to cross the Mediterranean despite dangerous sea conditions: IOM

By Sami Zaptia

Migrants continue to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in record numbers despite dangerous sea conditions and colder winter weather, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says in its latest report published today.

The report states that 348,664 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea and there were 4,690 deaths at sea in 2016 up to 29 November.

The IOM report states that 171,731 people arrived in Greece and 171,299 in Italy during 2016. However, the total is well below the number of arrivals at this point in 2015, by which time some 883,393 migrants and refugees had made the journey.

Yesterday alone, 1,413 migrants were rescued during 13 operations carried out between Libya and Italy, bringing the total picked up since last weekend to 2,070. The migrants were rescued in operations carried out by the Norwegian Siem Pilot, several Italian Coast Guard ships, the Italian Navy ships Borsini, Grecale and Fasan and other international rescue ships, the IOM reported.

“In November 2016, 11,872 arrivals were registered, compared to 3,219 in November 2015, and 9,295 in November 2014,” said IOM Italy spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo.

As of 28 November, Nigeria remains the top sending country with 35,716 migrants arriving in Italy in 2016, followed by Eritrea (20,000), Guinea (12,352), Cote d’Ivoire (11,406) and Gambia (11,022).

Nationalities Total

  1. Nigeria 35,716
  2. Eritrea 20,000
  3. Guinea 12,352
  4. Ivory Coast 11,406
  5. Gambia 11,022

The top 5 nationalities arriving in Italy through the Mediterranean Sea (source IOM) until 28 November.

The total number of migrant and refugee fatalities in the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2016 is now 4,690. Up until 30 November 2015, a total of 3,565 men, women and children were reported drowned – some 1,125 fewer than this year.

The 171,299 migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Italy by sea in 2016 has already surpassed the number registered in all of 2014 – previously the highest number of arrivals in Italy registered in a calendar year. This figure is also about 18 percent more than the number registered in the same period last year, when the Italian authorities recorded 144,205 arrivals until the end of November.

The figures, provided by the Italian Ministry of Interior, states the IOM report, show that migrants continued to cross the Mediterranean, despite dangerous sea conditions and colder winter weather, concludes the IOM report.

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