Deaths of immigrants trying to reach Spain triple
17 January 2006, CADIZ — A human rights campaign group claimed nearly 1,200 people died trying to get to Spain illegally last year though the real figure was more like 7,000.
17 January 2006
CADIZ — A human rights campaign group claimed nearly 1,200 people died trying to get to Spain illegally last year though the real figure was more like 7,000.
The Association for Human Rights of Andalusia (AHA) said 1,167 migrants died attempting to get to Spain illegally in 2006, though probably 7,000 died - a threefold increase over 2005.
Th report was being presented on Wednesday at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rafael Lar, of AHA, said that many sources had been consulted in Mauritania and Senegal, the two main migrant-sending countries, and they agreed that of every three boats carrying African immigrants toward Spain's Canary Islands off the West African coast at least one does not arrive, resulting in an estimate of "around six or seven thousand dead or missing".
The association says immigration is linked to poverty in Africa and to a seal-the-borders policy on the part of the European Union that has motivated desperate immigrants to seek ever-more perilous routes to reach Europe.
Lara said that the immigrants now use new technologies such as mobile phones or GPS devices "that make the trips cheaper".
The Spanish government responded last year by deploying a number of naval patrol boats and planes, bolestered by European forces, along the African coasts from which the immigrants leave.
The report adds that cooperation in Africa is "insufficient" and conditioned on the African governments themselves - which are, in the majority, "corrupt" - implementing in effective controls.
Between January and October of last year, as many as 25,000 African migrants arrived in the Canaries, with most of them hoping to use the islands as a bridge to Europe, where they wanted to find jobs.
Over the same period, Spain repatriated 10,635 immigrants, of which 4,864 were from Senegal, 4,909 from Morocco, 354 from Mali, 303 from Mauritania, 110 from Guinea Bissau and 95 from Nigeria.
Lara said that migration from Africa only makes up 4 percent of total illegal immigration to Spain. In all there are about 47,000 from Africa within a million from around the world.
The Spanish government, Lara said, has pursued a "repressive" programme to stem African immigration "with a vision up to a certain xenophobic and racist point, the consequences of which have been noted since the number of clandestine victims of immigration has tripled in two years".
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news