According to the UNHCR´s report Desperate Journeys, the number of refugees coming to Europe across the Mediterranean has fallen, but mortality rates have increased.
Smugglers risk more while transporting people from Libya to Europe, as Libyan border guards supported by the EU have been able to hold back more ships with migrants and the likelihood that people on these vessels will lose their lives is rising.
“It is already too late, when the refugees make it to Libya. Europe must intervene in the countries they come from,“ says Vincent Cochetel, French official for the UNHCR.
Although the European authorities made efforts to reduce illegal migration in 2017, according to UNHCR they failed to secure access to a safe and legal way for those in need of international protection.
The UNHCR stated that 2,276 people died while attempting to get to Europe last year which is one victim per 42 incoming. This year, 1,095 people died which means one victim per 18 immigrants, another 500 people have disappeared without a trace.
The UNHCR points to the fact that nowadays many people die when trying to get to Libya as a departure point for their travel to Europe and stay in crowded retention camps. Many of them return back after unsuccessful attempts at traveling to the European continent. While many of them fall into smugglers’ hands who sell them as slaves.
In recent months, UNHCR, together with the International Organization for Migration and other agencies, has been asking for a common approach by all countries in the region to address the migration issue with clear procedures and empowerment of resettlement programs.
The UHNCR also urged European states to offer refugees seeking international protection faster asylum procedures and increased protection of children. The reason for this demand is an increasing barrier by which the European countries are trying to defend their territories against migration flows.