Grim Discovery: Over 1,000 Unmarked Graves Found Along EU Migrant Routes

World » EU | December 8, 2023, Friday // 18:07
Bulgaria: Grim Discovery: Over 1,000 Unmarked Graves Found Along EU Migrant Routes @Wikimedia Commons

Over 1,000 unmarked graves have been found along migrant routes in the EU, the Guardian writes.

According to the paper, which worked with reporters from other media outlets, the International Committee of the Red Cross and NGOs, bodies are also piling up in morgues across the continent. An investigation published by the newspaper today spoke of at least 1,014 men, women and children buried without being identified in the past decade in 24 different cemeteries.

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, given that at least 29,000 people have died on migration routes in the same period and most are still missing.

They usually lie in graves near the borders, barely marked with rough white stones overgrown with grass (Greece), wooden crosses (Lampedusa, Italy) blocks with the inscription "Mr. X" (France), plaques with the inscription NN or "no name" (Croatia and Poland). On the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, on one grave is the inscription: "Migrant boat number 4. 25/09/2022".

Bulgaria, which is also an entry point for migrants into the EU, is not mentioned in this text.

This goes against the European Parliament's 2021 resolution, according to which those who died on migrant routes must be identified and a coordinated database needs to be built to collect information about the bodies. However, across Europe gaps in legislation prevent data from being centralized in the recommended way.

The task also becomes increasingly difficult for local authorities in points where many migrants arrive and where most deaths occur. For example, 35,410 men, women and children reached the Canary Islands this year alone - an unprecedented number. On the most desirable island of late, El Hierro, seven people have been buried in the last six weeks.

Victim identification is both a technical and a political problem. Many of the relatives have to wait for years, and this often creates not only emotional, but also practical, legal problems - related to parental rights, inheritance, benefits and pensions, the newspaper also writes.

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Tags: Unmarked, graves, EU, migrants

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