The data presented below results from exhaustive monitoring carried out 365 days a year by our Collective within our Human Rights Observatory framework. Migrant communities, rescue services, family networks, and human rights defenders on the ground collect, compare, and systematize this necessary information.

In 2023, 18 people died every day on the different migratory routes to Spain. The Monitoring theRight to Life report, which collects data on the victims of a necropolitics that is increasingly cruel and aggressive towards human rights, has found that 2023 was the deadliest year on record. As many as 6,618 people lost their lives on the Euro-African Western Border, including 363 women and 384 children.

The Canary route, across the Atlantic Ocean, is once again the deadliest migratory region in the world. The increase in departures from the furthest places along the route, such as Mauritania, Senegal, and Gambia should be highlighted this year. Specifically, from June onwards, the increase in the number of canoes from Senegal shows the population’s exodus caused by the country’s great social and political instability.

The report analyses in detail the different migration routes in the Atlantic from these countries, not forgetting the outflows of people in the coastal areas between Agadir and Dakhla. Our report has also continued to pay attention to the victims in the Mediterranean area, including the Algerian route, Alboran and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Our Human Rights Observatory, through its research team, has analysed the data presented in this report to define the causes of the increase in deaths. Among the most serious causes are the prioritization of border control over the duty to rescue, the failure to activate search and rescue resources with the necessary urgency,  increase in ineffective passive search methods, the impact of the externalization of borders with third countries and the reduction of resources for the protection of life.

The figures in this report could not be more alarming, and the increasingly lethal migration control practices that we see at the Western Euro-African Border are also observed at other European borders. These data are, therefore, intended to inform truth processes driven by migrant communities and victims’ families in the face of necropolitics. This report and those that preceded it are also steps towards the recovery of the memory of the victims and should be used in advocacy actions that fight against the politics of death at the borders.

Download the report in English here. Go to the bottom of the page for the French and Spanish versions.



  • I. We continue to remember the victims and their families

    The aim of our work at the Human Rights Observatory is to work for Memory and Justice for the victims of the Euro-African Western Border, their families, and communities. In this chapter, we compile the objectives and the main figures of the report: 6,618 victims, 363 women, 384 children, and 18 victims per day.

  • II. Necro-frontier ravages lives

    What is behind this unprecedented mortality? We analyze the different practices of what we know as necropolitics: omission of the duty to help, externalization of borders, the cynicism of passive search, the criminalization of solidarity and other forms of provoking deaths that are on the rise in fortress Europe encouraged by the new migratory treaties.

  • III. The Atlantic routes of the Euro-African Western Borders

    The routes across the Atlantic to the Canaries remain by far the deadliest. We have broken them down into a long chapter to address the specific characteristics of each of them.

    The route from Agadir to Dakhla is mostly done in inflatable boats that pose a greater risk of instability and sinking, requiring greater speed in activating rescue services. This often does not happen.

    The route of the cayuco boats, which begins on the coast of Senegal, has been one of the protagonists in the second half of the year. Political instability in this country and extractive fishing by foreign countries have led to increased departures, with many young people and adolescents using the canoes previously used for fishing.

    Also, during the second half of the year, there was an increase in the number of boats leaving Mauritania for the island of El Hierro, mainly with people in transit through this country.

    One of the longest and most dangerous routes is that of the Gambia, which is activated in mid-October in boats with large numbers of people on board of different nationalities such as Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry.

  • IV. The Mediterranean routes of the Euro-African Western Borders

    In the Mediterranean, we have also broken down the different routes to offer a more exhaustive analysis of each.

    The most important in terms of the number of victims is the Algerian route, which suffers from invisibility on the part of the Spanish state authorities, who respond to families and organizations with a systematic lack of transparency.

    The Strait of Gibraltar route is characterized by the precariousness of the means used to reach Spain, mainly by rowing dinghies and swimming to Ceuta. The non-activation of rescue resources increases these highly dangerous practices.

    On the Alboran route, the attempts to swim to Melilla account for most of the victims due to the special precariousness of these crossing systems.

  • V. Epilogue

    This year has been particularly tragic, and we wanted to summarize it in a compilation of the words that have most marked us in our work and in our relationship with the victims’ families and communities.


Download the full report here: “Right To Life 2023” (English version)

Descarga el informe completo aquí: Informe “Derecho a la Vida 2023 (versión en Castellano)

Téléchargez le rapport complet ici: “Droit à la Vie 2023” (version française)