World Bulletin/News Desk
An international rights watchdog has launched a campaign in the Gaza Strip against illegal immigration – a phenomenon that has caused thousands of deaths among would-be migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
"The campaign aims to raise awareness among Gazans, especially the youth, about the dangers of illegal immigration to Europe by distributing flyers and erecting billboards across Gaza," Rami Abdu, chairman of the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
The campaign was launched amid an uptick in illegal immigration attempts from Gaza to Europe, which have led to hundreds of deaths at sea within the past two months.
"Illegal immigrants are always at risk of abuse and violence by human traffickers, who sometimes ram the boats. Also, many European countries don't treat illegal immigrants the way they think they'll be treated."
Last month, at least 15 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip drowned off the coast of the Egyptian city of Alexandria after their boat sank while en route to Italy.
Another boat – said to have been carrying more than 400 illegal migrants, mostly Gazan refugees – sank off the coast of Malta last week. Most of those on board are believed to have drowned.
Accounts from survivors suggest that human traffickers intentionally sunk the boat, ramming it after the ill-fated passengers had refused to board a smaller vessel.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said last month that 2014 had been the deadliest year ever for people attempting to reach Europe illegally via the Mediterranean Sea.
Frank Laczko, head of research for the IOM, said Monday that 3,072 people had died trying to cross the Mediterranean within the first nine months of this year.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2014, 17:47