At least 252 refugees have been killed since 2021 after being returned illegally across the border by European authorities. This is an estimate by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This is the first time that the International Organization for Migration has estimated the number of deaths from so-called pushbacks.
The organization bases its assessment on the statements of survivors of these pushbacks. They say, for example, that 58 people died near the border between Turkey and Greece and another 97 in the Mediterranean.
The International Organization for Migration noted that the actual number of deaths may be higher. It is difficult to get a complete and reliable picture, because countries have little data on pushbacks.
These reviews are very controversial. When countries return people, they are not complying with international agreements. For example, European Border and Coast Guard Frontex are under fire for returning refugees at the border between Greece and Turkey, according to investigative journalists. Frontex denies responsibility for this.
More than 5,684 dead on the escape routes
In addition, the International Organization for Migration reported that at least 5,684 people died during their journey to and within Europe in early 2021.
On the well-known escape route between West Africa and the Canary Islands, the number of deaths increased compared to previous years. This was also the case on the road across the Mediterranean. People traveling through these roads cross the sea dangerously and long.
The number of deaths among refugees in Europe has also risen. For example, the International Organization for Migration points to the Turkish-Greek border, where 126 deaths were recorded. According to the organization, many of them died because they did not receive the help they needed.
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