No let-up in illegal migrant arrivals as 56 reach Tenerife

17th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

A boat carrying 56 undocumented migrants reached Tenerife in the early hours of Sunday morning as a steady stream of arrivals from Africa to the Canary Islands continued.

17 March 2008

MADRID - A boat carrying 56 undocumented migrants reached Tenerife in the early hours of Sunday morning as a steady stream of arrivals from Africa to the Canary Islands continued. Among the occupants are believed to be 11 juveniles, as well as one man who required medical treatment.

In the first two months of this year, an estimated 89 people died trying to reach Spain from Africa, compared to 12 in the same period of 2007, a human rights group said last week.

In a report, the Human Rights Association of Andalusia (APDH-A) counted 921 people who drowned off the Spanish and African coasts in 2007. However, it noted that the real death toll on African migration routes is probably much higher. If deaths in the Sahara and estimates of disappearances at sea are taken into account, the ADPH-A puts the 2007 death toll at 3,500.

It blamed "increasingly repressive and cruel border policies" as the factor forcing migrants to make ever more perilous journeys, and noted that even Spanish Interior Ministry officials have pointed out that the "Sahara has become an immense tomb of sand."

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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