Refugees, Migrants Face Violence, Abuse, and Death on Routes Across Africa

New Data Highlights Severe Risks for Refugees and Migrants

Refugees and migrants continue to face extreme violence, exploitation, and death as they traverse Africa, according to a new report by UNHCR, IOM, and MMC. The report emphasizes the severe dangers on land routes, especially across the Sahara desert, where deaths are estimated to be double those in the Mediterranean Sea.

Abuse and Human Rights Violations

Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean, highlighted that migrants and refugees, regardless of their status, face serious human rights violations, including torture, physical violence, arbitrary detention, and sexual exploitation. Criminal groups and state officials are often responsible for these abuses.

Push Factors and Insufficient Protection

Push factors include political conflicts, climate change, and racism. Many refugees and migrants lack access to protection and assistance, driving them to take more perilous routes. Despite international commitments, efforts to hold perpetrators accountable are insufficient, leading to near-complete impunity.

Stepping Up Life-Saving Measures

While UNHCR, IOM, and partners have intensified life-saving protection services, they stress that humanitarian action alone is not enough. They call for legal and regular migration channels to enhance migration governance and address the urgent needs of refugees and migrants.

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