At least 14 people died off the south Italian coast in two separate tragedies. In once incident, seven people died after their wooden boat fell apart off of Calabria. Up to 150 people seeking illegal immigration are believed to have been on the boat, but only 120 survivors are accounted for. The immigrants, mostly Palestinians, are believed to have set out on their journey from Turkey. In the second incident, seven other bodies were discovered off the coast of Sicily in a similar attempt.
In September, Spain and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) launched a massive campaign to broadcast the life-threatening risks and dangers of making the trip to reach Europe, hoping to dissuade would-be illegal immigration. Many Senagelese view the campaign with skepticism, citing the campaign as futile – people leave because they have no other choice, and taking the risk is often a last resort with no other life opportunities.
France wants to clinch agreements on curbing immigration with some 20 African countries by the end of 2009, Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux said Wednesday. An agreement is currently under negotation with Congo Republic and “in the coming months I will begin discussions with other countries,” Hortefeux told a conference of French ambassadors in Paris. “We expect there to be some 20 countries involved by the end of 2009,” he added. France has signed immigration accords with Senegal and Gabon that provide for French assistance to help the countries monitor their borders in exchange for their cooperation in repatriating illegal migrants.