MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz on Wednesday described European Union’s southern maritime border as the deadliest border area in the world, with migrant deaths in the Mediterranean topping 3,000 over the past year.
“During last year, more than 3,000 people have died on the EU Southern border. This makes it the most deadly border area in the world,” Martin Schulz, who has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994, said on Twitter.
Thousands of migrants have perished off European shores while trying to flee brutal regimes, religious persecutions and armed conflicts in North Africa. According to the International Organization for Migration, calculating migrant deaths is a true challenge, since the majority of governments do not publish death tolls, and counting the lives is left to civil society and the media.
Roughly 20,000 people have lost their lives over the past two decades in efforts to reach the European Union’s southern border, although it is still unknown how many have drowned or have been washed up dead on the coast of Africa.
In August, a boat with some 400 would-be migrants from Libya capsized off the Italian shore. Rescuers retrieved 24 bodies. The incident prompted a meeting on the issue between officials from Italy, the European Commission and the European borders agency Frontex, where Italy called for more EU support.