Death at the Borders: Database for the Southern EU external borders covers migrants whose bodies were found in or brought to European destination countries: Spain, Gibraltar, Italy, Malta and Greece. This research is funded by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

For a complete picture, similar data (from civil registries, cemeteries, coroners) are needed from the countries of departure: Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Albania, Macedonia. Libya and Syria should also be part of this list, but these countries are presently not accessible for research on account of the security situation there.

Adding these coastlines is important for the following reasons:

  • It will do justice to the deceased migrants by making their fate visible;
  • It will allow us to make a better estimate of the number of people who die on their way to Europe;
  • Thereby, it will allow us to better investigate the relation between migration policies and migrant deaths.

Research in the eight countries of departure will consist of two stages:

(1) a pilot project in order to identify the sources from which information about deceased migrants can be collected;

(2) if the pilot is successful, full data collection.

Data collection (both during the pilot and the full data collection) will be carried out by one VU University Amsterdam main researcher, with one or two research assistants from each country. It will be supervised by the researchers responsible for the data collection in European destination countries, Tamara Last MSc and prof. dr. Thomas Spijkerboer, both of VU University Amsterdam.

If you have suggestions for funding, please contact Orçun Ulusoy