Published by Alma
Despite high migratory rates toward the North, South-South migration has proliferated in recent years, which in the case of Africa employs routes to the Americas. Photo: Internet
By Darcy Borrero Batista | email@example.com
They ask him, “Have you forgotten something?” and the emigrant responds “I wish!” in the shortest tale in the world. This phrase suffices to express the spirit of migration, a global phenomenon that, according to headlines tinged with red, has cost the lives of at least 18,500 people over the past three years. At the close of 2016, statistics from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported a total of 7,495 victims that year. In other words, 40.5% of the deaths which have occurred over the past three years took place last year, marked from its beginning by migratory waves from, among other places, Africa.
A report by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) indicated that the total number of migrants arriving in Europe by two main sea routes (Eastern Mediterranean route, and across the Western Balkans) in 2016 fell by nearly two-thirds compared to 2015, when more than one million migrants entered the European Union (EU). Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis accounted for the largest share of migrants arriving on the Greek islands; a favored route due to its geographical proximity to the Middle East.
However, the number of migrants arriving via the Central Mediterranean route rose by nearly one-fifth to 181,000, the highest number ever recorded, reflecting a steadily increasing number from the African continent.
The decline in the first two routes, with a total of 364,000 migrant arrivals in 2016, reflects the intensification of border controls, as well as intercontinental agreements to prevent the entry of migrants. Meanwhile, the necessary cooperation among affected nations and international organizations, to directly tackle the causes of what has also become an increasing problem for the recipient countries, is lacking.
The question should be how to address the adverse situations present in the emitting African countries, which are translated into increasing migration, and not how to contain international migratory rates, as the latter almost always results in retrograde measures such as the announcement from the United States of the possible construction of an anti-immigrant wall. A similar measure was adopted by the Hungarian government, which last October announced the building of a high-tech fence along its southern border to attempt to curb irregular migration. This will certainly control one symptom of the phenomenon, but not its multiple causes.
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