Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2853

A system that turns seas into cemeteries

Europe’s racist border regime means death and misery
Issue 2853
Refugees being rescued in the Mediterranean sea

Refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece (Picture: Wikicommons/ Mstyslav Chernov)

An organised network is responsible for turning the Channel and the Mediterranean Sea into killing grounds. It’s not smuggling gangs—it’s the governments of Europe and Britain. Their goal is to block refugees from arriving, through drownings if necessary.

Tory Britain is a leader in murder, according to new evidence. The authorities abandoned to their fate 19 small boats in danger in the English Channel, carrying 440 migrants between them, on just four days in early November 2021.

The Observer newspaper said, “Records from 3 November 2021 show incidents were closed down without staff establishing the safety of those on board. No rescue boat or helicopter belonging to the coastguard, Border Force or RNLI came within one nautical mile of the logged coordinates within four hours.”

What happened to those abandoned is unknown. And the first three months of 2023 have been the deadliest for people attempting to cross the Mediterranean since 2017.  The deaths are a result of a push from the top of the European Union (EU) and its border force Frontex.

Refugees’ journeys start in Tunisia or Libya. In Tunisia, bodies, including those of pregnant women and children, are washing up so often that authorities have run out of space to bury them. Last year more than 800 bodies were recovered in the Sfax region—and 300 since the beginning of this year. Italy, Greece and Malta are supposed to intervene to rescue those crossing. Yet they ignore distress calls.

Instead, since 2017 Libya’s coast guard has been patrolling the Mediterranean as part of an agreement with Italy to return people to Libya. The EU now wants to make a similar deal with Tunisia. That’s despite president Kais Saied’s speech in February claiming black migrants were a “source of violence and crime”.

EU states such as Italy continue to restrict how people are rescued and increase the number of deportations. Last month a boat with 400 migrants drifted between Italy and Malta for more than two days while waiting to be rescued. This is weeks after 76 people died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy. 

Italian prime minister and fascist leader Giorgia Meloni conspired with Rishi Sunak on how they could be more brutal to migrants when she visited London last week. For those that make it into Europe a tiny number try to get to Britain, only to risk their lives crossing the Channel.

The Tories refuse to allow people in safely—and instead blame smugglers for the deadly risk of small boat crossings. Britain won’t take in refugees. Italy and its neighbouring EU countries won’t take in refugees. So those who have fled for a better life end up dead or back where they started. That’s the reality of Europe’s racist border regime.

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