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Europe Must Act marks the deaths of 44,000 people at the EU's borders

[21.06.2021, 08:00 CET]

For Immediate Release

On 20 June, World Refugee Day 2021, Europe Must Act (EMA) joined the 44,000 Names Memorial event, organised by MiGreat. In doing so, EMA coordinated its 50+ chapters across Europe (comprising both nations and cities) to read the names of 44,000 men, women and children who have died in pursuit of asylum in the EU.

Since 1993, at least 44,000 people have died at the EU's external borders. Some have drowned in the Mediterranean or the English Channel, while others died of hypothermia in the Alps or the Balkans. 44,764 people who have died have been accounted for by ‘UNITED for Intercultural Action’ since 1993. They are still counting.

In reading the names of the individuals known to have died in pursuit of asylum during a 7-hour livestream, which is available on EMA’s Facebook page, EMA hopes to pay respect to those who have died, and highlight the profoundly dysfunctional EU migration policy.

Heike Gumz, Campaign Coordinator from Europe Must Act and Germany Must Act explains: "The victims of the EU's migration and asylum policy must not be simply reduced to figures. They are children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives and friends who had hopes, dreams and aspirations. These people are now dead. They died in the hope of refuge and protection in the EU. The mourning for these people, whose deaths could have been prevented if the EU did not pursue humane migration policies, should be combined with a call to repentance. European civil society wants an asylum and migration policy that shows solidarity and respects human rights."

Europe Must Act (EMA) is a growing grassroots movement, bringing together volunteers and NGOs to campaign for the humane, dignified and legal reception of refugees in Europe. EMA was established in March 2020 by a group of volunteers on the Greek Aegean islands of Chios and Samos in response to the ever-worsening situation of the hotspot camps. For more information about EMA, please visit

Further comments available.



Ruth Heylin, Press Spokesperson Europe Must Act

Links: (Europe Must Act Facebook Livestream)


Europe Must Act is a campaign group run by a coalition of NGOs working on the Aegean Islands. Find out more here.


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