Human Rights Groups Blame Europe’s Tight Borders For Migrant Deaths

Two Catholic human rights organisations, Caritas Europa and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Europe, have blamed Europe’s “restrictive approach to migration” for the thousands of migrant deaths that have occurred in the Mediterranean Sea over the past months. “Policies focused on deterrence, including the agreement with Turkey, are not stopping people from trying to reach our countries,” they said in a statement. “Instead, they prolong suffering and push people into the hands of smugglers and traffickers, who find even more dangerous entry routes.” Over the past year, a number of European countries, including Macedonia, Austria, Switzerland, France and Hungary, have beefed up border controls in order to curtail the vast waves of migrants wishing to enter their countries. The two organisations have declared that restrictive European Union (EU) migration policies “force desperate people to take deadly routes.” So far this year some 204,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency said last week. Late Thursday, more than 700 migrants were aboard a vessel that capsized off the coast of the Greek Island of Crete, and rescue operations only managed to save 340 lives, with hundreds presumed dead. Prior