Blame for the Deaths of Asylum Seekers in the Mediterranean

The deaths of asylum seekers have been the focal point of the Mediterranean crisis. Most asylum seekers do not take care when fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea since they use illicit routes to reach countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and other European countries (Independent, 2016). Mass deaths have recently been recorded, thus it is past time for society and other human rights organizations to speak out about the lives of the defenseless. Many bodies or players are supposed to be blamed for the deaths of the asylum seekers have been the major crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the asylum seekers do not take precautions whenever they are fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea because most of the use illegal approaches to access the nations along the Mediterranean Sea among other nations in Europe (Independent, 2016). Mass deaths have been reported recently thus it is high time for the society among other human rights agencies to air their voices regarding the lives of the vulnerable people. Many bodies or players are supposed to be blamed for the deaths of the asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. Blame games has been normal whenever the tragedies about the deaths of hundreds of people thus it is essential to understand the key person or bodies to be blamed for the continuous loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the Asylums are from Africa, and they are seeking purposely crossing the sea to seek employment while other are being trafficked for other illegal reason such as prostitution and child labor.

The Ship Captains

According to the VAO news which was published on April 21, 2015, the captain was blamed for the death of the Mediterranean migrants. The migrants were locked under the decks of the fishing ship which was driven by the Tunisian captain. Though the ship collided with the merchandise ship that was coming to rescue the asylums, the court found Mohammed Ali Malek guilty for overloading the ship and locking children, women and men under the decks (VAO News, 2015). Based on the case of the Tunisian captain, it is evident that captains and the ship owners are the people to be blamed for the continuous deaths of the asylums. It is supposed for the port authorities to employ the systems that can help in reducing the illegal flee of people from one region to another. The merchant ships are supposed to be delivering cargo, but it is unfortunate that such ships have turned to be the rescuers of other ships because, in most incidences, the merchant ships are involved in saving the lives of the drowning asylums.

The captains seem to be not complying their professional values and ethics. It is inhuman for the captains to take the assumption that their work is to transport any item without taking into consideration legality, security and condition of the items they are ferrying. The captains have to check if the items they are transporting are safe and fit to be transported using the particular ship. The deaths of many asylum seekers under the decks of the fish ship are wrong, and the captains should be held liable because such issues indicate that the captains lack humanity. Serving the public without focusing majorly on the personal interests should characterize the work of the captains thus any case entailing lack of due care from the captains should be handled seriously to reduce asylum seekers deaths caused by negligent captains.

Immigration Authorities

The immigration authorities, particularly in African nations and some Europe and Asia nations, should be blamed for the deaths of the asylums. The immigration departments are supposed to be the immediate bodies that keep checking on the movement of the citizens and non-citizens in and out of the regions (Traublinger, 2014). Before asylums get into the fishing ships, the ships should have been checked by the immigration officers working along the Mediterranean Sea. The immigration department has the mandate of taking record of all the refugees moving in and out of the states they are based. However, many of the immigration officers get engaged in corruption and allow deaths to occur under their watch without taking legal actions. Most of the people causing such deaths are rich and wealthy hence they make use of poor people in transporting drugs for the rich men and after their mission are accomplished they kill them to hide evidence in case of tracking by crime officers. The Europe government are supposed to bear the blame for the tragedies faced by the asylum seekers; for example, the European leaders are claiming that they have stopped migrant boats being used by the asylum seekers from Turkey to Greece, but they have forgotten to lock the routes that are being used by the asylum seeker in between Libya and Italy. Reports made by various news houses shows that over asylum seekers died in 2016 due to the adverse conditions which made refugees suffocate, drown, fuel inhalation and extreme cold that takes lives of many asylum seekers while in the midst of the sea.

Patrol Security Departments

The Europe patrol ships and the rescue operation are supposed to be in charge of patrolling the seas to protect the illegal transportation of people across the Mediterranean Sea. The European Union (EU) is the body that selects the strategies and the resources that are supposed to be used to curd the cases regarding the deaths of the asylum seekers in the sea.It has been while the military ships and helicopters have been used to check the sea security, but it is contrary that people are still ferried across the sea at their presence thus it means the military team are not performing is not performing its duties accordingly (Traublinger, 2014). The military team is the biggest and immediate player in sea protection thus they are supposed to monitor all the movements across the sea by checking the commodities that are being transported by both merchandise ships and the fishing ships. The Europe patrol ships were ideal but considering the advancement in technology and the techniques by the people smugglers, it is high time for the EU to consider injecting more funds to the Mediterranean Sea security department since more funds can help in training the patrol officers, acquisition of more advanced security helicopters, ships among other security equipment. Therefore, if the EU is still taking time to respond, then more asylum seekers may lose their lives in the sea.

Patrol security officers are mandated to offer security to anyone within the Mediterranean region. Even criminals are not killed but arrested and judged in court to ascertain their reasons for being in the area. But with the increases rate of corruption and bribery, the patrol officers demand bribes from the refugees who then do not have anything to offer for the favor to be granted. People from poor African countries fighting for their lives in the nations they think will help them get killed by such patrol officers due to lacking something to offer in exchange of granting them the opportunity to cross over to the other side where they expect to lead a better life.

The military in charge of providing security in the sea is supposed to provide reports to the security department. But considering the extreme deaths that were reported in 2016, it is likely that the military officers are not engaging in right duties under their job description (Moreno, and Papastavridis, 2017). Though there are rare cases of corrupt military officers along the Mediterranean Sea, it is likely that the security department is not adhering to the policies that guide officers to work ethically without involving themselves in illegal receiving of money from the human traffickers. The entire security department depends on the reports filed by the patrol officers because the strategy formation and implementation depend on the data that are collected by the patrol officers. Thus if the patrol officers are not resenting relevant data for the interest of making changes, then the security system cannot be corrected or modified to reduce the deaths of the asylum seekers. Decision-making processes concerning the sea patrol are supposed to be characterized by the information and suggestions made by the field officers.

Human trafficking is a common and major factor that has led to deaths in the Mediterranean Sea. The human traffickers are interested in transporting people illegally across and along the Mediterranean Sea, and the means that are used by the human traffickers are not fit for transporting people or any living things; for example, people are being locked under decks of the fishing ships (Brian, and Laczko, 2014). Therefore, the unhealthy conditions that people are being subjected while being transported cause deaths. Every nation must protect its citizens against human trafficking; for example, the African nations such as Libya and Tunisia are aware of the human trafficking that goes on along the sea, but they are still not advancing their citizen protection against human traffickers.

The areas where people need help are the hot spots for the illegal transportation of people across and along the sea. The central Mediterranean is the most serious part of the where it is supposed to be protected by more security officers (Traublinger, 2014). The sea security department lack enough human resource to protect all the routes that are being used by the smugglers. Therefore, the security agencies that are working along the Mediterranean are supposed to be blamed for not covering all the hot spots as far as the lives of the people who being fled across the sea are concerned.

Employers in Europe

The employers in Europe should also be blamed for the mass deaths of the asylum seekers. Human traffickers smuggle people from the developing nations in Africa and some parts Asia with the purpose of transporting them to developed nations where the smuggled people will be subjected to cheap labour or slavery in the properties of some rich people in parts of Europe. Lack of humanity among some individuals triggers human smuggling considering that some rich unethical people look for cheaper labour forces from the unwilling poor people from developing nations. The smugglers should understand that employing children and women is illegal considering that a child has the right to education and care, but due to lack of humanity among some people they go ahead and employ children who are supposed to be taken care by the parents. The labor laws in Europe should consider including the proper investigation of the people’s homes because most of the smuggled persons are being kept as the household keepers. Therefore, the laws governing the labor should protect the employment of the people who are being employed at homes.

Europe Leaders

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is the biggest body that protects refugees. The UNHCR has been warning the Europe Leaders regarding the deaths of the asylum seekers, but unfortunately, the voice of the agency has been falling on deaf ears because to-date that are not major transformation implemented by the Europe leaders. One of the UNHCR leaders who has been following up on the transformations that have been made by the Europe leaders is Mr Mahecic. According to Mr Mahecic, the smugglers are advancing their tricks on transporting a smuggled person, but the Europe leaders are not acting accordingly; for example, the smugglers are developing new routes and use of flimsy dinghies to reduce the cost and evade detection by the legal authorities (The Conversation, 2011). But the leaders are not acting swiftly on setting up strategies that can help impairing the smuggler's tactics. The European leaders have always welcomed refugees and other immigrants to their states who come in to lend a hand in the workforce and military. For example, most of the army soldiers in the European countries are Africans who were recruited as slaves, and due to their hard work and masculinity, they are the people managing the military while they get killed in war and the European nations have nothing much to lose because they are not native citizens. The death of Asylum seekers can be brought to an end by such leaders joining efforts and imposing strict policies and rules that govern the immigration sector and the manner of treatment offered to refugees. According to the research which was done the Unravelling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis (Medmig) project, the results showed that the blame could be partly towards Britain and some other parts of the European nations. The reason for blaming Britain and some European nations is due to the reason that they refused to open up legal routes for the interest of the refugees who are seeking safety in Europe thus the refusal has increased the rate of the smuggled person using the dangerous routes (Emma, 2017).

African Leaders

The leaders in Africa are wealthy greedy and dictators who want to stay in power as long as they can with less concern on the living standards and welfare of their followers. The poor and harsh conditions experienced in many African states caused by poor governance leads to the migration of people from their countries to other nations in search of better living standards and earn income. A better example of dictatorship governance in Africa has been experienced in Zimbabwe. The nation has the poorest economy in the region and leadership has deteriorated for over three decades being ruled by an illiterate president.

Unemployment in developed nations is one of the causes of the fleeing of people to seek employment. People run from the areas where unemployment is high after they have been promised lucrative salaries in other nations in Europe (Traublinger, 2014). According to the research which was done by the United Nations Human Rights (UNHR), most of the asylum seekers are fleeing to find jobs that can help in sustaining their families considering that some nations in Africa are experiencing acute unemployment crisis due to lack of enough resources to accommodate entire nation (Moreno, and Papastavridis, 2017). Therefore, the nations where the refugees are fleeing from are supposed to be blamed for failing to allocate resources accordingly to accommodate all citizens. In developing nations, most leaders are corrupt in that they do not serve citizens using the outputs of the national revenue; instead, most of the leaders direct the national properties and revenue to satisfy their interests thus leaving the needy citizens in the line of poverty and eventually subjecting them to demanding human traffickers.

United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

UNHCR is supposed to be in charge of protecting the lives of the refugees globally thus the lives of the asylum seekers lives should matter to the UNHCR. Deaths of the asylum seekers have been a continuous tragedy thus if the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) was reactive and proactive agency then it could have intervened in the development of the strategies, policies and laws that protect the lives of the refugees that are being transported illegally by the human smugglers. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has played an important role in ensuring the refugees are protected, but there are some weaknesses in destroying the tactics that are being used by smugglers in trafficking children and women across the Mediterranean Sea. Apart from the deaths faced by the asylum seekers, human smuggling is intended for forceful/cheap labor and sexual exploitation. The victims of the human trafficking are thus are eventually subjected to odd jobs and sex work. Some of the victims are beaten while being transported and when found to be seriously injured they are thrown into the sea; hence the UNHCR is supposed to set proactive measures to keep the vulnerable people save.

The work of the human rights department or commission is to undertake safety measures to all humankind. However, the procedures have changed, and money has taken control. The human rights commissioners have turned materialistic, and they defend the rights of a selected class of citizens while others are allowed to be denied their rights and freedoms. For example, most of the refugees are from African nations and less is done in defending them from undergoing brutal killings in the countries they seek refuge. The work etiquette and other professional conduct should be exercised to all people regardless of origin or social class.


The blame regarding the death of the asylum seekers in the Mediterranean Sea touches all the stakeholders in relation to the protection of the human lives and movement of people from the region to another. The nations, human rights agencies, ships captains, security agencies, political leaders and above all the human traffickers/smugglers are the stakeholders who are paying the blame games against each other though they are all contributors to the Mediterranean tragedies. All the involved parties are required to act accordingly to protect the lives of the asylum seekers without bringing in their specific interests. The United Nations and other human rights agencies should play a major role in advising Europe leaders, and African leaders among other leaders whom their citizens are involved in illegal seek of refuge. Citizens also should act responsible and understand the adverse impacts of fleeing across Mediterranean using illegal routes and use of unhealthy means of transport.


Brian, T., and Laczko, F. Fatal journeys: tracking lives lost during migration. International Organization for Migration, 2014.

Emma Diltz. Death and desperation taint Mediterranean shipping routes. Politico. (2017). [Online] Available at Accessed 22 Nov. 2017.

Lizzie Dearden. Refugee crisis: European leaders blamed for record high deaths in the Mediterranean. Independent (2016) [Online] Available at Accessed 22 Nov. 2017.

Moreno Lax, V., and Papastavridis, E. Boat refugees and migrants at sea: a comprehensive approach: integrating maritime security with human rights. Leiden; Boston: Brill/NIjhoff, 2017. 

Andrew Markus, Pratt. Five ways to prevent more asylum seeker tragedies. The Conversator (2011) [Online] Available at Accessed on 22 Nov. 2017.

Traublinger, J. Boat Refugees in the Mediterranean, 2014. Hamburg, Diplomica Verlag. [Online] Available at Accessed 23 Nov. 2017.

VAO News. Captain blamed for Mediterranean migrant deaths (2015) [Online] Available at Accessed 22 Nov. 2017.

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