Almost 1,000 deaths in small boats in first semester

According to the latest balance of Caminando Fronteras, 951 people have died in small boats in the first half of the year, and almost all died on the Canary Islands route. The figure is similar to the same period of 2022, despite the fact that the number of arrivals has continued to decrease.

In total, some 49 tragedies have been documented in the first half of 2022 on the maritime routes made by small boats trying to reach the Spanish shores. The balance is made by the Caminando Fronteras collective, which puts the number of deaths in these first six months at 951, of which 112 were women and 49 children. February, with 237 deaths, and June, with 332, were the two deadliest periods in the data monitored by this network of volunteers.

In this new analysis, based on the testimony of survivors or relatives who contacted this organisation, the Canary Islands route once again stands out as the deadliest with 778 victims, followed by the Algerian route that usually goes to the Spanish Levantine coast, with 102 dead, the Strait with 50 and the one that crosses the Alboran Sea with 21 fatalities.

The number of deaths in the first half of the year remains almost the same despite the fact that the arrival of migrants has fallen by 11.35 percent on the entire southern Spanish border, and almost 19 percent on the deadliest route.

While Caminando Fronteras puts the number of deaths at 951 this year and 978 deaths in the same period of the previous year, according to daily monitoring, “we can affirm that on migratory routes, especially on the Canary Islands, the lethal capacity linked to the denial of effective protection of the right to life of migrants” states the NGO’s report.

“These data show that States focus on immigration control, but are being negligent in defending the right to life, that the routes are more lethal even though arrivals are reduced, and they also show practices that are causing deaths such as we saw in the shipwreck on June 21 on the Canary Islands route with 39 victims,” ​​says Helena Maleno, spokesperson for Caminando Fronteras in a statement.

This Collective denounces that “the surviving victims suffered arrests, forced displacements, physical attacks, detentions in application of the immigration law. On the other hand, they did not have access to adequate psychosocial monitoring as victims of multiple tragedies. And regarding the recovered corpses, they point out that “the fatalities whose bodies were found suffered burials in common graves, lack of guaranteed identification protocols, absence of dignified burials that respected the beliefs they held in life. In the few guaranteed identification processes, families have been key to reminding public administrations of their democratic responsibilities”, concludes the analysis of Caminando Fronteras.