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IMO: 181,000 migrants entered Europe via the Mediterranean in 2016

April 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that 181,476 refugees and migrants entered Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 while 1,232 drowned on route as of 13 April.

The refugees and migrants arrived in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. Some 350 Syrians were returned to Turkey as part of the deal Ankara signed with the EU.

The organisation expects to resettle 300 more Syrians this week.

“The 350 already moved under the ‘1 for 1’ arrangement have left Turkey for Austria, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This week 200 more will go to France, 50 to Luxembourg and 50 to Finland,” the statement said.

“Under the EU-Turkey agreement, IOM is not involved in the return of migrants and refugees from Greece to Turkey.  But it does facilitate resettlement of refugees from Turkey to third countries, including EU member states. So far this year, IOM Turkey has facilitated the resettlement of over 1,100 refugees to Europe and over 4,000 to other countries.”

On 18 March, Turkey and the European Union reached an agreement aimed at dealing with illegal immigration and human smuggling. The agreement, which came into force on 4 April, stipulates that Turkey will receive immigrants who had come from Turkey before they set off to Greece.

Under the terms of the deal, procedures will be taken to return non-Syrian immigrants to their home countries, while Syrians who are returned to Turkey will be housed in camps.

In return for every Syrian who is returned to Turkey, Turkey will send another Syrian refugee to Europe. The number of Syrians who will be included in the first phase of the swap is expected to reach 72,000. The European Union is to cover the cost of the swap and readmission.