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Mediterranean deathtoll: Accidents or EU policy?

With the death toll of African and Asians on their way to Europe rising by the thousands, the European Union has showed once again that it is ready to pay the price of lives lost at sea to maintain the myth of sovereignty over its borders.

With ever growing securitization and militarization of its immigrations policies, the European Union is closing the gates to the unwanted outsiders and covers the Mediterranean in blood.

The media talk about a tsunami of refugees, and hordes of ‘illegal’ immigrants. They use a language that refers to war or environmental disaster and therefore, justifies all kinds of control and repression measures.

The law draws an arbitrary line between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration. In reality, very little difference exists between those fleeing persecution and those fleeing hunger. At the end of the day, every human life has the same value.

Days after the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean, where more than 800 migrants lost their lives, the European Council called an emergency summit to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean. There, it became clear that the incentive of the EU leaders is not to save lives but to forbid people from dying at their doorstep.

The EU and its member states try to seal their borders making regular ways of entry practically inaccessible, criminalizing irregular migration, and employing the latest military technology and brutal force to block access to their territory.

The result of these policies is violence and death. The EU denies responsibility for the thousands of lives lost at sea, the hundreds of thousands rotting in immigration detention, and all those forced to return to fear and want.

Instead, the recent mass drowning is used once again as an excuse for even further militarization, even stricter controls and closer cooperation with countries with problematic human rights records. The EU declared war on smugglers and stated that it would burn migrant vessels before departure, in order to protect migrants from the dangers of the sea.

Targeting smugglers is fighting only the symptoms of a disease that is as deadly as the system itself.

The European Union and its member states cannot deny their role in supporting and participating in the wars and the financial imperialism that drives people away from their homes. When this is coupled with human mobility, a phenomenon as natural as humanity itself, then desperate young men and women will put their lives at risk to cross a human-made border.

Drownings are not a natural phenomenon. It is a result of the EU migration policies.


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