21pc of migrants entering Europe via Mediterranean are Bangladeshis

Bangladesh topped the list of countries from where people are migrating to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea as Bangladeshis accounted for 21 per cent of the migrants who entered Europe risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean from January to April this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) director general Amy Pope disclosed the data while speaking to a group of journalists at a hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday. Before this, she formally unveiled the World Migration Report 2024 at an event there.

Amy Pope said people migrating from various countries including Bangladesh now more than ever because of climate change and conflict and it is necessary to collect data and statistics as well as to conduct researches to understand whether a large number of people are migrating from Bangladesh because of climate change.

Replying to a query on about 1.5 million people displaced in Bangladesh, Amy Pope said not only in Bangladesh but more people were also displaced globally last year due to the impact of climate and conflict, and that was astonishing.

She said millions of people currently live in a very risky condition due to climate change.

There is no proper assessment of what factors force people to migrate and government must invest to understand the actual situation, Amy Pope observed.

21pc Bangladeshis

Migration from Bangladesh to Europe via the Middle East has been on the rise. Asked, Amy Pope said many of these migrants worked in the Middle East.

A trend to arrive Europe crossing the Mediterranean Sea has increased since 2015, and 5,000 migrants died en route to Europe in 2023 and 524 of them died in the Mediterranean, the route that migrants from Bangladesh take to enter Italy, she added.

Replying to a query on the death tally of Bangladeshi migrants, Amy Pope said a total of 283 Bangladeshis died en route to Europe via the Mediterranean since 2014.

A total of 16,200 people from various countries arrived in Europe from January to 30 April this year taking this route, she said adding, that 3,425 of them were Bangladesh citizens and Bangladeshis also ranked fourth in the list of irregular migration to Europe via the Mediterranean in 2023.

Replying to a query on challenges to migration caused by social media platforms and disinformation, Amy Pope said traffickers use social media platforms sophisticatedly keeping an eye on global situations. Besides, adequate money was invested in campaigning on migration through legal channels. Even migrant aspirants lack information on the necessary skills required for migration, Amy Pope added.

People must be made aware of legal migration properly to resist traffickers on social platforms or other digital platforms, she said.

Rohingya issue

Replying to a query on IOM’s role in resolving the Rohingya issue, Any Pope said it is undeniable Bangladesh has a high-density population and the country’s government faces challenges over employment generation and economic availability.

“I have talked about the Rohingya’s access to education and jobs. Otherwise, they will be entirely dependent on humanitarian aid,” she added.

Referring to the drop in international aid for Rohingya, Amy Pope said it is concerning and the cut in aid is an unavoidable outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic, global inflation and conflicts in several places.