German newspaper prints names of 33,293 refugees who died trying to get to Europe

A German newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, has  listed names of 33,293 people it says died while trying to immigrate to Europe between 1993 and May of this year. The piece includes 46 pages of victims’ names, ages and countries of origin, as well as causes and dates of death. 

One entry is a 15-year-old boy who drowned on 15 November 2016 when a rubber dinghy he was on with 23 others sank while trying to travel from Libya to Europe.

Another tells of Iraqi migrant Talat Abdulhamid, 36, who froze to death on 6 January after walking for 48 hours through the mountains on the Turkish-Bulgarian border.

Mamadou Konate, 33, from Mali did manage to make it to Italy — but  died earlier this year in a blaze that consumed a ramshackle camp in San Severo.

The newspaper said it wanted to document “the asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants who died since 1993 as a consequence of the restrictive policies of Europe on the continent’s outer borders or inside Europe”. 

The majority of the people on the newspaper’s list drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last year was the deadliest for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean, with at least 5,079 dying or going missing during their journey, according to the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016,” the IOM said in a September report.

“Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route – that across the central Mediterranean – such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016.” According to a spokesperson for the IOM. 

Some of the immigrants who succeeded in reaching Europe later died in violent attacks or killed themselves in custody while waiting to be deported back to their home countries.

A 17-year-old Somali boy died when neo-Nazis in the eastern German town of Schmoellnhe forced him to jump off a tower on Oct 21, 2016. A 30-year-old man from Uganda committed suicide in an immigrant detention center on the coast of southern England while awaiting deportation. 

“We want to honor them” Der Tagesspiegel wrote. “And at the same time we want to show that every line tells a story…and that the list keeps getting longer, day by day.”