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Faces of Africa – Far From Home Pt. 1

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The European Commission released some statistics about the numbers of refugees and migrants who tried to make their way to Europe in 2018, via the Mediterranean Sea.

In all, there were approximately 134,000 migrant arrivals to Europe in 2018, which is actually a significant decrease from 2017, which saw nearly 180,000 arrivals.

Spain was by far the biggest destination for migrants and refugees in 2018, having received some 60,000 migrants and refugees this year. This compares to nearly 46,000 in Greece and 23,000 in Italy.

Migrants braving the dangerous journey crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

This movement towards Europe continues to take a devastating toll on human life According to data from the European Commission; 2,160 people died trying to reach Europe in 2018 as compared to 3,129 deaths in 2017.

An estimated 362,000 refugees and migrants risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, with 181,400 people arriving in Italy.

This journey for a better future is fraught with danger, and the lucky ones get to escape with their lives, these risks do not end once in Europe. Those moving onward irregularly have reported numerous types of abuse, including being pushed back across borders.

Migrants arriving in Europe need adequate reception and assistance, particularly those with specific needs, including unaccompanied and separated children and survivors of sexual and gender based violence, and access to fair and efficient asylum procedures.

Migrants arriving in Europe at a security checkpoint.

Kelvin Amayo 25 a Nigerian Migrant arrived in Catania in 2015, but his journey to Italy was a tough one; he left Nigeria and crossed over into Libya where he stayed for over one year.

Many migrants choose to pass through Libya, but unfortunately some of them end up being held hostage as slaves. After braving the desert, Kevin and others finally board a vessel to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

Kelvin remembers the fearful Journey all too well.  “We spent two days in the sea, waiting to be rescued, there was a dead human being on the boat we were on, so I couldn’t breathe, Reminisces Kevin”

Abdel  Fattah an Eritrean Migrant left his home country in 2002, he is in Italy, though not his final destination, but due to the Dublin Law, which states that you have to remain in the place where you arrive.

He has been through some very difficult times, in ten years he has experienced over ten different wars as he tried to migrate to greener pastures.

Abdel Fattah, center, an author and humanitarian migrant.

Krubazly Demba a Gambian migrant’s story is no different, he moved from Gambia due to economic reasons. In Italy he is working as a technician, a job that helps him to support his small Family that joined him there.

The immigration question needs to be resolved in its entirety, taking into account its cultural, security, religious and social magnitude. Overall, there is a need for a comprehensive plan of action that will support long-term solutions to the complex issue of mixed migration and help address its root causes, in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit and in line with international law.


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