2004: A deadly year for illegal immigrants

5th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2005, CADIZ- With 289 fatalities registered, 2004 was the deadliest year in a decade for illegal immigrants trying to reach Spain, according to APDHA, a human rights group in the southern region of Andalusia.

5 January 2005

CADIZ- With 289 fatalities registered, 2004 was the deadliest year in a decade for illegal immigrants trying to reach Spain, according to APDHA, a human rights group in the southern region of Andalusia.

The group's president, Rafael Lara, said the official figure understates the tragedy.

He estimated that more than 500 would-be immigrants perished, most of them while trying to make the dangerous crossing from Africa.

Lara said 2004's 10-year-high for migrant deaths epitomizes a phenomenon that has "deep and complex roots anchored in inequality and the North-South divide."

Noting that his association has confirmed roughly 1,400 deaths linked to clandestine immigration in Spain over the past eight years, he said a realistic guess as to the true number of fatalities would range from 2,500 to 3,000.

The APDHA leader stressed that the victory of a Socialist government under Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had done nothing to improve the lot of 'undocumented' immigrants.

Lara said migrants in government detention continue to suffer from "the lack of blankets, health care, adequate lodging and even food."

Moreover, he said, restrictive immigration policies have led to the sprouting up of makeshift transit camps in Morocco and around Spain's North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, where thousands of people await a chance to make the passage to Europe.

There are at least five such camps, according to Lara, who said that the migrants waiting there - including children and pregnant women - struggle without food, clean water, shelter or medical attention.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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