Record Number of Refugees Crossing to Europe, U.N. Says

ICC Note:  83 percent more Africans have migrated to Europe in the last six months than in the first half of 2014, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).  Most of the migrants originated from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, and are pushed from their countries as results of war and persecution.  In Eritrea, Christians regularly face arbitrary imprisonment, rape, beatings, torture and extrajudicial killings because they are considered enemies of the state. If they decide to seek greener pastures in Europe, they often travel through Libya, where ISIS maintains strongholds, and migrants often risk capture and execution for their faith in Christ.  Last month, 88 Eritrean Christians were abducted by members of ISIS in Libya attempting to reach Europe to escape persecution in Eritrea.

By Somini Senguptajune

6/29/15, United Nations (New York Times) – Record numbers of people crossed the Mediterranean Sea in a bid to reach the shores of Europe in the first six months of this year, and most of them were entitled to be resettled as refugees under international law, the United Nations said Wednesday.

According to numbers released by the United Nations refugee agency, 137,000 people crossed from January to June, landing in Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain. That represents an 83 percent increase from the same period in 2014, and the agency added that “it is expected the numbers will continue to soar” in the second half of the year.

The three largest nationalities were Syrians, Afghans and Eritreans, which, according to the refugee agency, signals that the migrants are fleeing war or persecution and makes “the Mediterranean crisis primarily a refugee crisis.”

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