Citizens for Justice and Peace

More than 6,000 migrant deaths documented in 2017

27, Feb 2018 | CJP Team

According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project (MMP), 6,142 disappearances and deaths were documented around the world in 2017, making it the third straight year in which more than 6,000 fatalities were documented by the MMP. The IOM started monitoring migrant deaths in 2014, with almost 26,000 fatalities being documented thus far. However, this number is likely just a small portion of the actual number of such deaths. “…not all deaths and disappearances during migration are reported – in many remote regions of the world, bodies may never be found, and many migrants may never be identified,” according to to William Lacy Swing, the organisation’s director general. Constraints with obtaining complete information include the paucity of data from official sources, and the need to rely on media reports and interviews. In Africa, for example, official data is not publicly available, and news reports are difficult to monitor as the continent is home to to more than 1,000 languages. MMP documented 3,139 disappearances and deaths in the Mediterranean in 2017, of which over 90% took place in the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy. More than 1,700 migrant deaths were documented for Africa, with more than 690 in the Sahara Desert. 208 Migrant deaths were documented in the Middle East, but is difficult to determine which deaths were due to the region’s conflict. The IOM documented 669 deaths in the Americas in 2017, but experts have noted that little is definitively known about migrant disappearances and deaths in Central America. 



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