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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Africa Policy Breakfast: The African Migrant and Refugee Crisis Across the Mediterranean Sea

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm
United States

From January 2014 to September 2015, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people undertaking crossings of the Mediterranean Sea to seek refuge in Europe. Nearly a quarter of the estimated 350,000 refugees and migrants who have attempted the crossing originate in refugee-producing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa including: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.  This year alone, we have seen several tragic reports of African refugees and migrants drowning at sea in attempts to transit from North Africa to Southern Europe. The largest and deadliest of these disasters was reported in April, where more than 800 migrants lost their lives in a single incident involving a capsized boat off the coast of Libya. Stories like these are indicative of the larger trend in refugee and migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, with persons from Sub-Saharan Africa making up three-fourths of those who have died at sea since 2014. Please join us for a discussion on the current status of the crisis response with senior representatives from leading U.S. agencies, international non-governmental organizations and the African diaspora.