Not even a month has passed since over 700 hundred migrants lost their lives in their attempt to reaching the shores of Italy and the media spotlights have already faded on the island of Sicily, Italy’s southern region and main gateway to Europe.
“The unbearable number of lives lost at sea will only grow if the European Union does not act now to ensure search-and-rescue operations across the Mediterranean,” Human Rights Watch warned Apr. 15.
It's easy to spot Saani Bubakar in Tripoli´s old town: always dressed in the distinctive orange jumpsuit of the waste collectors, he pushes his cart through the narrow streets on a routine that has been his for the last three years of his life.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Mediterranean has become the most lethal of Europe’s barriers against irregular migration, having claimed nearly 20,000 migrant lives in the last two decades.
‘Mare Nostrum’ – the largest search and rescue immigration operation ever carried out in the Mediterranean Sea – has become an issue of bitter brinkmanship between human rights groups and anti-immigrant lobbies.
His journey started four years ago in Conakry, Guinea. Now that Mamoudou* has finally reached Italy, he hopes this will be his final stop.
With Italy having taken over presidency of the European Union (EU) until December 2014, questions remain regarding Europe’s migration policies as reports of migrants dying at sea while trying to reach Italy regularly make the headlines.
Since November last year, Bulgaria has virtually closed its borders to an inflow of Syrian asylum seekers and other migrants trying to enter the country from Turkey, while EU institutions concerned appear to have acquiesced to this.
A Nov. 19 paper by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU diplomatic corps, considers the possibility of the European military getting involved in the south Mediterranean in an effort to curb the influx of irregular migrants and refugees into Europe.
Human rights groups have circulated evidence in the last few days indicating that Greece, Italy and Egypt illegally detain and push back Syrian refugees.
Publicly funded research is paying towards security systems that the EU is inviting major multinationals to put together to keep unwanted migrants out.
The European Union is implementing a new border management system with tougher migration control the core aim. Major security and weapons companies are already reaping the benefits.