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  • A boat full of migrants sinking in Mediterranean waters, August 27, 2019.

    A boat full of migrants sinking in Mediterranean waters, August 27, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 7 August 2020
Opinion

Authorities blame human smugglers for the deaths of thousands of migrants every year.

About 50 migrants Thursday died in the Atlantic Ocean after their barges sank while trying to reach the Canary Islands in Spain.

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Spanish outlets revealed that one of the boats broke down off the coast of Mauritania, and at least 40 people died. Also, 10 migrants died after another vessel shipwrecked near to the coast of Western Sahara. The only survivor told AFP that their boat broke down.

“For a long time, we did not receive aid. It was every man for himself. I think they are all dead. I am the only survivor.”

Authorities blame human smugglers for the migrants' death. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stressed that “the phenomenon of migrant smuggling is characterized by high human cost and high profits for transnational criminal networks.”

“This happens while states face challenges in preserving the integrity of their migration governance systems and sovereign borders and fulfilling their responsibilities to protect individuals' human rights,” the IOM denounced.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Vincent Cochetel said that both “UNHCR and IOM along with authorities and partners are trying to step up efforts to prevent such tragedies, but traffickers keep lying to their clients.”

According to figures provided by the IOM, about 170 migrants died in 2019 trying to reach Spain through the Atlantic side, considered the most dangerous way into that country.

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