SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

July 2023 Press Review

Photo by Amr Serag on Unsplash


Greece migrant tragedy: coastguard rope capsized boat, survivor accounts say

Reuters, 30 June 2023

Survivors of a boat disaster that likely killed hundreds of migrants near Greece have given accounts of traffickers in North Africa cramming them into a clapped-out fishing trawler. They recounted hellish conditions above and below deck, with no food or water.

When the ship sank it was carrying between 400 and 750 migrants mostly from Syria, Egypt and Pakistan, the U.N. refugee agency says.

A total of 104 survivors have been found but rescuers say it's unlikely anyone else will be recovered, dead or alive, in one of the deepest parts of the Mediterranean.

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Hundreds of migrants rescued off Canary Islands 

BBC, 23 June 2023 

At least 227 migrants were rescued off Spain's Canary Islands on Thursday, officials say, a day after reported deaths of more than 30 migrants there.

Emergency services say the Coast Guard saved the migrants traveling on inflatable boats near the Lanzarote and Gran Canaria islands in the Atlantic. 

The Western Africa-Atlantic migration route is considered one of the world's deadliest, and at least 543 migrants died or went missing on that journey in 2022, according to the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

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In blow to Sunak, UK court rules Rwanda deportation plan unlawful 

Al Jazeera, 29 June 2023

A British court has ruled that the government’s controversial plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful as the African nation cannot be considered a safe third country. In a major setback for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has pledged to deter people from arriving across the Channel in small boats, three Court of Appeal judges on Thursday said the “removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda” would be “unlawful”.

The Rwandan government said that while the matter was one for the British courts, it took exception to the judges’ conclusions.

“Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world and we have been recognised by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees,” said government spokesperson Yolande Makolo. 

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Deaths on migration routes in MENA highest since 2017

IOM UN Migration, 13 June 2023

Nearly 3,800 people died on migration routes within and from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region last year (January-December 2022), the highest number since 2017 when 4,255 deaths were recorded according to newly released data from the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project (MMP).

The 3,789 deaths recorded in 2022 was 11 per cent higher than the previous year.

On North African land routes, particularly during the perilous Sahara Desert crossing, 203 deaths were recorded, while an additional 825 deaths occurred on Middle Eastern land routes. Libya registered the highest number of deaths on land routes in North Africa, with 117 fatalities, followed by Algeria (54), Morocco (13), Tunisia (10), and Egypt (9).

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Nearly one million newly displaced in DRC in first half of 2023 amid surge in violence

IOM UN, 15 June 2023

A surge in attacks on civilians by non-state armed groups has newly displaced close to 1 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since January, according to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). 

An estimated 6.1 million people are currently internally displaced in DRC, a 17 per cent increase from October 2022. 

Since the beginning of the year, the civilian population has been severely affected by violence and brutal attacks perpetrated by non-state armed groups in eastern DRC, resulting in loss of life, mass displacement, and increasing instability. As the conflict intensifies, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. 

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South Africa: Legal stay extended for thousands of Zimbabweans 

AfricaNews, 06 June 2023

Tens of thousands of Zimbabwean nationals working in South Africa who were facing deportation when their work permits expire at the end of June have been given a temporary reprieve after South African authorities extended the deadline on Thursday.

About 178,000 holders of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit, an immigration permit issued in 2010 to Zimbabweans who had migrated to South Africa, now have until the end of December this year to apply for other visas and waivers to continue working in the country.

Many Zimbabweans, some undocumented, are living in South Africa, with a significant influx recorded following the 2008 political and economic upheaval in Zimbabwe that resulted in many fleeing to their southern African neighbor.

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