Newspaper identifies 33,293 people who've died seeking shelter in "fortress Europe"

by Emma Batha | @emmabatha | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 10 November 2017 16:01 GMT

A coffin containing a migrant is removed from Italian navy ships "Bettica" in the Sicilian harbour of Porto Empedocle, Italy, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

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Many of the victims come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and West Africa

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Nov 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Four-month-old Syrian baby Faris Ali froze to death in a tent in Turkey, five-year-old Afghan Sajida Ali's body washed ashore after a shipwreck, and tiny Samuel drowned with his mother as she tried to reach Spain after leaving home in Congo.

The three children are among thousands of victims listed by a German newspaper in an attempt to put a human face on the tragedy that has unfolded in the Mediterranean where thousands of refugees and migrants have died en route to Europe.

Der Tagesspiegel newspaper said it wanted to show the victims "as human beings, with an origin, a past, a life".

Not all those listed drowned in shipwrecks. Some were thrown overboard.

The document is headlined a "List of 33,293 registered asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, who died because of the restrictive policies of Fortress Europe".

Hundreds of thousands fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have tried to reach Europe in recent years.

Some European countries have built fences along their borders, as others have bickered over how to handle the crisis.

Compiled from media and U.N. sources, the list also includes many who died after reaching Europe.

Last January, two Iraqi men, Hardi Ghafour, 29, and Talat Abdulhamid, 36, froze to death in Bulgaria's mountainous border with Turkey after two days walking through snow.

Others have died in fires in refugee camps or been hit by lorries on motorways.

The document also lists scores of suicides; some have set fire to themselves, others have hanged themselves with sheets or jumped from buildings.

Several of those named died in racist attacks or other violence after thinking they had finally found safety.

Somali teenager Ahmed Hassan was murdered in a racist stabbing at a school in Sweden two years ago.

Many of the victims come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and West Africa.

But hundreds of those who have died at sea are simply identified as "unknown". Only the details of their deaths are given.

The biggest single tragedy happened in May 2016 when 550 people drowned after two fishing boats sank off the Libyan coast.

The list compiled by Turkish-born artist Banu Cennetoglu dates back to 1993, but most deaths relate to the last six years.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit to see more stories.)

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