17th June 2024
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Over 1,000 migrants reach the Canary Islands in 18 boats over the past 3 days

Over 1,000 migrants from sub-Saharan countries arrived in the Canary Islands in 18 boats over the past three days, Spain’s marine rescue service said on Monday. A body was found in one of the boats.

The Canary Islands have seen a surge in migrant arrivals in recent weeks, as more people from West Africa attempt the dangerous journey. Officials say 7,270 migrants arrived in January alone, about as many as in the first six months of 2023.

Most of the boats depart from Mauritania. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit the West African country on Thursday to encourage authorities to try to curtail the departures.

Spain and the European Union have cooperation agreements with both Mauritania and neighbouring Senegal to try to reduce the number of migrants arriving on the islands. But some young people insist on taking their chances and say there are few opportunities and sometimes political turmoil at home.

Spain’s Interior Ministry says a record 55,618 migrants arrived by boat – most of them in the Canary Islands – last year, almost double the number of the previous year.

The Spanish non-profit organisation Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) says over 6,600 migrants died while trying to reach Spain by boat last year, most of them on the Atlantic route. The figure is more than double the number reported by the organisation for 2022. The NGO says it compiles its own figures from families of migrants and rescue statistics.

ALSO READ: Supreme Court says Spanish government broke law sending child migrants back to Morocco.

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