Taking Their Chances in Europe

“African migrants going to Europe,” by J.C. for the Economist:

Following the recent sweep of revolutions in North Africa, the corpses of migrants have washed up with increasing regularity on the region’s shores. This month alone 58 perished, with another 54 missing, following shipwrecks off the coasts of Libya and Greece. Weakened states are less able to police borders, allowing thousands to reach the European mainland. In April, Italian vessels rescued over 4,000 migrants in two days, prompting beleaguered authorities to declare a humanitarian emergency. By some estimates, more than 600,000 people from Africa and the Middle East are currently waiting on north Africa’s shores to embark for a better life.

A new report documents the routes taken by this human wave, as well as the migrants’ origins and means of transport, and the role played by traffickers, terrorists and corrupt government officials in the booming industry. In doing so it casts light on the murky politics in the vast, unpoliceable stretches of the Sahara and the belt of arid scrub than runs beneath it, the Sahel. The authors argue that instead of tackling the problem in overcrowded asylum centres in Europe, efforts to deal with it must also focus here…

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