40,000 migrants have died attempting to reach 'greener pastures'

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Red Cross workers assist a Tunisian man at the port of Lampedusa, Italy. UN Photo/UNHCR/Phil Behan

Over 40,000 migrants have died worldwide since the year 2,000 trying to reach countries where they hope to have a better life, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Nearly half the migrants have died mainly on the treacherous routes across the Mediterranean sea.

In a report titled "Fatal Journey: Tracking Lives lost During migration", IOM is calling on governments worldwide to address what it describes as "an epidemic of crime and victimization"

The report says the number of migrants killed in the Mediterranean sea this year has reached 4,000.

IOM Director General William Swing says limited opportunities for safe and regular migration drive would-be migrants into the hands of smugglers.

He says undocumented migrants are not criminals rather human beings in need of protection and assistance, and deserving respect.

Joel Miliman is the spokesperson for IOM

“The research we have indicates that the going price for crossing the Mediterranean is somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 dollars per person. We don't know enough details to say if families are given a discount or not. Official complicity we here reports of busloads of migrants headed to the docks that are evading police and looking for a chance to get on the docks and board the ships. We hear of voyagers switching vessels in the middle of the sea. All those things speak to at least of some fear on the part of the smugglers that governments would crack down or punish them or bring those people back to the African ports that they left from. And then you have cases like in Libya where authority has so broken down. It's difficult to know if this is an atmosphere that criminals are acting with virtual impunity.”

IOM says the number of fatalities amongst migrants is likely to be higher as many deaths occur in remote regions of the world and are never recorded.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.50″

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