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Fatal journeys

Tracking lives lost during migration

image of Fatal journeys
In October 2013, over 400 people lost their lives in two highly publicized shipwrecks close to the Italian island of Lampedusa, but sadly, they are not isolated incidents. Estimates in 2013 and 2014 reach close to 6,500 lost lives of migrants in border regions around the world. Many deaths occur in remote areas and are never reported. This publication investigates how border-related deaths are documented, who is documenting them, and what can be done to improve the evidence base to encourage informed accountability, policy and practice. Included are migration routes through Central America to the United States, with a focus on the United States–Mexico border region; the southern European Union bordering the Mediterranean; routes from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa; routes taken by migrants emigrating from the Horn of Africa towards the Gulf or Southern Africa; and the waters surrounding Australia.

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Counting and accounting for deaths of asylum-seekers en route to Australia

As we began writing this chapter about the deaths of asylum-seekers off the northern coast of Australia, an aerial and underwater search of unprecedented proportions was underway across a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean. For many months, the tragic disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 made headlines and generated public concern around the world. The search, initially for survivors and then for human remains and wreckage, has mobilized cutting-edge technologies and attracted human and financial resources from at least 26 countries (Wardell, 2014) anxious to help resolve the mystery and demonstrate their good standing as global leaders. Media reports have speculated that the operation could eventually cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (Wardell, 2014).

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