Chapter 16 They went to sea in a SIEV, they did: a new framework of rights for missing and deceased migrants and their bereaved families proposed by the Last Rights Project
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As more states adopt increasingly restrictive border security, third-country gatekeeping and processing arrangements, refugees and migrants face more dangerous journeys and punitive incarceration. Consequently, death tolls and serious harm rise as instances of the ‘collateral damage’ caused by migration deterrence policies and lack of adequate enforcement measures to ensure states’ compliance with international treaty obligations. The families of those who go missing or die on migration journeys suffer the additional indignity of not knowing the fate of their loved ones, and experience multiple failures of a bureaucracy that denies them access to justice, culturally respectful and timely burial and mourning practices, psycho-social support, rehabilitation and reparations. This chapter examines how existing human rights norms can provide a new framework to address these and other issues facing bereaved migrant families and discusses the 2018 ‘Mytilini Declaration’ – a tool to improve states’ practices and help create a mechanism to restore dignity, accountability and justice for victims and their families.

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