3332 Bangladeshis seek asylum in 7-month
Special Correspondent: Thousands of migrants from poor African countries crossing the rough Mediterranean are not new to Europe. Many people from countries like war-torn Syria are following the same path. But surprisingly, Bangladeshis have risen to the top due to going to Europe illegally. There is no war in this country, the scourge of poverty is not as severe as in African countries, but in many cases Bangladesh has become a role model of economic progress. Even then, the attempt of Bangladeshis to go to Europe at the risk of their lives in groups has surprised everyone.
As of July 28 this year, at least 46,425 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Malta. The highest number of 3 thousand 332 of them are Bangladeshis. In other words, one out of every seven people who reach the shores of Europe alive is a citizen of Bangladesh.
Many of these migrants are trafficked to Libya, Tunisia, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Surely many unknown people have lost their lives. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recorded the deaths of at least 937 migrants on their way to Europe across the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2021, many of them Bangladeshis.
European authorities have tried to find out why there are so many Bangladeshis among the people who have left the African coast at risk. However, the reason is not yet completely certain.
Among the top 10 countries in the list, the name of Bangladesh is a bit incongruous! Three of the top five countries are in Africa (Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Egypt), another is war-torn Syria. Geographically, Bangladesh is the farthest from these countries.
It is believed that a large part of these Bangladeshis fell into the hands of traffickers and left for Europe by sea. After the recent arrests of several members of the smuggling ring in different districts of the country, it is known how horrible this journey is. It sometimes takes several years to cross the Mediterranean illegally and reach Europe in this way. The only way to reach the Libyan coast is for the victims to suffer indescribably.
Moreover, the escalation of the financial crisis due to the coronavirus epidemic is also believed to be inducing people to take risky journeys.
There are 16 routes
European Border and Coast Guard Organization or Frontex, at least 60,000 Bangladeshis have gone to Europe illegally since 2009. Most of those entering Europe in this way are between the ages of 25 and 40. They usually try to enter Europe through 16 routes. However, the main route for Bangladeshi immigrants is the Central Mediterranean.
According to the International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix, in 2020, about four and a half thousand Bangladeshis entered Italy, Malta, Spain or Greece by sea and land.
Earlier this month, the Tunisian Red Crescent reported that at least 16 Bangladeshis had drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. On July 8, the Tunisian navy rescued 49 Bangladeshi migrants from the Mediterranean. On July 3, at least 43 migrants, including Bangladeshis, went missing after a boat capsized on the same road.
According to the Tunisian naval authorities, more than 700 Bangladeshi migrants were rescued after the sinking between May 16 and June 24. They are part of the 3,332 Bangladeshis who have been rescued or detained on their way to Europe this year.
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