A shipwreck that took place in the Strait of Sicily | Photo: ANSA/Italian Navy
A shipwreck that took place in the Strait of Sicily | Photo: ANSA/Italian Navy

The president of Mediterranea Saving Humans has said that European policies have turned the Mediterranean "into a graveyard." An estimated 20,0000 migrants have died on the Mediterranean Route since 2014.

Alessandra Sciurba, president of the NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans, spoke at a press conference in Tunis on Wednesday and said Europe "has decided to turn the Mediterranean into a graveyard instead of a place in which civilisations meet and encourage the free movement of people." 

The press conference took place at the headquarters of the NGO Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES), with the participation of FTDES and Avocats sans Frontieres. 

Against collaboration between Libya and Italy 

Sciurba denounced European migratory policy and "in particular that of Italy, which collaborates with the Libyan Coast Guard to prevent the free movement of people in the Mediterranean and criminalises civil society for undertaking campaigns to save human lives in danger." 

"Pregnant women, children, and young people die in the Mediterranean or are captured by the Libyan militias and tortured simply because they fled their country in search of a better future through illegal channels in the absence of channels for legal migration," Sciurba said. 

20,000 migrants dead since 2014

Antonio Manganella, Mediterranean regional director of Avocats sans Frontieres (ASF), said that "the Mediterranean remains the deadliest border in the world." He added: "Far from being inevitable, this tragedy is the direct consequence of a deliberate political choice." 

According to estimates by the UN migration agency IOM, just over 20,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean since the begining of 2014. 

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