The numbers of migrants reaching Malta and Italy are significantly smaller than last year’s numbers. UNHCR spokeswoman Laura Boldrini said that the current situation is “so calm it’s almost unnatural.” The assumption is that the recent Libya-Italy agreement and resulting (and unknown) actions by Libya are a cause of the reduced numbers.
MaltaToday reports that “[b]etween April and May, just two vessels carrying a total of 99 migrants arrived [in Malta and] no landings occurred in June. Over the same period in 2008, some 872 African migrants landed on Malta…”
“Similarly, at …Lampedusa, [Italy] arrivals have declined 33% and 95% in April and May respectively, compared to the same period in 2008, according to UNHCR.”
“A source from the [Maltese] Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs told MaltaToday that recent crackdowns had led to a drop in illegal immigration. Among these were reports in the Italian media that Libyan boat factories had been shut down by the authorities there, leading to criminal organisations making use of rubber dinghies and fishing vessels, an indication of a more haphazard trafficking organisation.”
“[I]t is not yet certain what sort of action is being taken by joint [Italian-Libyan] patrols and Frontex operations, and whether immigrants are being forcibly returned – in breach of international law – to Libya without being given the right to apply for asylum.”
Click here for article.