The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruitment has witnessed a meteoric rise globally, with a new LinkedIn report stating that job postings referencing AI skills have experienced an uptick in recent months.
Findings of the Future of Work report have revealed that English-language job postings mentioning GPT or ChatGPT have increased by 21 times on the careers platform since November 2022. The report further states that skills required for various jobs across industries have changed by 25% since 2015, with that number expected to reach at least 65% by 2030 due to the rapid development of new technologies like AI.
The Middle East job market is no exception with industry experts stating that there has been a recent ‘surge in demand for skills related to AI and data analysis’ by recruiters in the region.
Changing job description
A recent research paper by global management consulting firm Bain & Company revealed that demand for top tech talent has more than doubled between 2015 and 2019. The nature of the job has also evolved with 40% of the most in-demand jobs today not even existing in 2015.
PwC’s Middle East Workforce Hopes and Fears survey 2023, released in June, also found 52% of the individuals surveyed in the region believing their jobs will change significantly in the next five years, requiring them to acquire new skills and capabilities to boost AI literacy.
“The rise of AI has brought about significant changes in the job market, particularly for employees. Technology is automating routine and repetitive tasks across many industries, potentially leading to the displacement of jobs,” said Kamal Raggad, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of RemotePass, a global onboarding and payroll platform for remote teams.
Raggad said: “Simultaneously, there’s a surge demand for skills related to AI and data analysis. Individuals with expertise in machine learning, data science, and AI have become highly sought after. Moreover, many businesses are deploying AI tools to bolster productivity and decision-making, which augments the capabilities of employees in their daily tasks.”
According to Raggad, the landscape is also evolving rapidly for hiring managers, with the emergence of AI paving the way for the creation of novel job roles tailored to harnessing its capabilities. “In the realm of recruitment, AI tools are revolutionising processes by automating tasks like candidate screening, skills assessment, and matching the right candidates to the appropriate roles. Furthermore, to bridge the emerging skill gaps, there’s an increasing emphasis on investment in AI-focused training and upskilling programmes,” he added.
According to a recent study by McKinsey, the MENA region is predicted to witness a significant workforce expansion of 127 million in the next decade, primarily driven by a burgeoning youth population.
As Gen Z enters the workforce, this has further led to an uptick in AI-driven resume building and job search platforms, with companies such as Bayt and GulfTalent using smart features to transform the way candidates and recruiters find, screen and shortlist opportunities.
Last month, Qureos, a UAE-based startup that specialises in personalised career matching across the MENA region, announced the launch of Iris, a recruitment platform that employs advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to aid hiring managers in candidate sourcing and evaluation.
According to the company, Iris can present an average of 47 relevant candidates per search in 26 seconds, ultimately reducing time-to-hire and slashing recruitment costs by up to 43%.
“Recognising that 30% of Middle East respondents, as per a PwC survey, are seeking new career opportunities, Iris serves as a critical catalyst for career advancement in the region,” said Alexander Epure, CEO & Co-founder of Qureos in a statement.
Industries embracing change
According to LinkedIn, industries that are seeing a shift towards AI-skilled members include Technology, Information, and Media, with the US also seeing significant movement in Education (1.2%), Professional Services (0.9%), Financial Services (0.9%), and Manufacturing (0.8%).
When looking at the speed at which members are adding AI skills to their profiles, the report states professionals in Financial Services (30x), Retail (29x), and Wholesale (24x) are pivoting toward AI faster than in Technology, Information, and Media (11x).
“The adoption of AI promises to bring profound changes to the job market. Industries built on repetitive tasks, such as manufacturing, data entry, and customer service, are more susceptible to AI-driven displacement. By contrast, fields that lean heavily on human creativity and interpersonal skills, like healthcare and the arts, might instead see evolving roles,” said Raggad.
He continued: “AI’s swift ascent in the technological world has dual implications. On one hand, there’s a palpable concern over job reductions, especially in sectors like retail and finance, where AI tools like chatbots and algorithmic trading are being swiftly adopted. On the flip side, sectors rooted in creativity, complex problem-solving, and those reliant on a human touch are likely to be more resilient. Moreover, AI’s rise is birthing entirely new sectors in cybersecurity and AI research, signalling a promising horizon for novel avenues of employment.”
(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)
(Ethnic Media Services) — For generations, millions of Americans whose roots lie in the Middle East and North Africa — MENA — have essentially become invisible people because the Census Bureau has denied requests for their own racial category.
“Legally, in America, I’m classified as white,” says Dr. Hamoud Salhi, associate dean of the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, CSU-Dominguez Hills. “I was born in Algeria, which is part of Africa, so technically I could declare myself as African American, but I can’t.”
Palestinian-American Loubna Qutami, a President’s postdoctoral fellow at U.C. Berkeley specializing in ethnic studies, says that since MENA doesn’t have a classification of its own, it legally falls under the white category.
MENA populations have their own specific needs for health care, education, language assistance, and civil rights protection, but they have no way to advocate for themselves because numerically they are folded into the category of white Americans.
To change this, Dr. Salhi, Dr. Qutami, and other MENA leaders have been mobilizing their communities to participate in the 2020 census, encouraging people to write in their ethnicity. They spoke with other experts and activists on a May 13 two-hour video conference organized by Ethnic Media Services on the historical, linguistic and political challenges that make the MENA population among the hardest to count in California.
Geographically, MENA populations live on three continents — from the border of Afghanistan south to the tip of Africa — and in 22 nations in the Middle East alone, with numerous subgroups such as Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Armenians.
“North Africa is actually a concept that the French gave to Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, which they colonized,” says Dr. Salhi. The neighboring countries of Egypt and Libya were added later.
Because of their shared Arabic language and Islamic religion, people in the United States from North Africa were lumped together with people of the Middle East to form the MENA acronym.
For decades, the Census Bureau has turned down requests to add MENA to the official category of races, currently white, black or African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.
The result, says Dr. Qutami, artificially props up the white population count, which has been in decline, while suppressing the count of MENA residents who don’t identify themselves as white. According to the 2015 Census Bureau’s “National Content Test – Race and Ethnicity Report, “As expected, the percent reporting as White is significantly lower with the inclusion of a distinct MENA category when compared to treatments with no MENA category.”
California mirrors the challenge to the MENA population of geographic size and diversity, says Emilio Vaca, deputy director of the state’s Complete Count Committee, which directs census outreach. The Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey reported that 11 million of California’s 40 million residents, about 27 percent, are immigrants.
“That’s equivalent to the entire state of Georgia,” Vaca emphasized. At home, most of those immigrants speak one or more of 200 languages other than English.
Homayra Yusufi, from the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, broke down the face of diversity in just one San Diego neighborhood that her organization serves: “We have 45 different national origins — from MENA, Asia and Latin America — who speak more than 100 languages in the 6.5-mile City Heights district, a distinct community of refugees and immigrants.” Educating and motivating these groups to participate in the census is a way to engage them in the civic life of the wider city.
Historical necessity — what specific immigrant groups have done to survive — also plays a role in the MENA undercount. Up until the mid-20th century, only whites could own property, and only “free white immigrants” could become American citizens.
To survive and advance, Middle Eastern immigrants successfully petitioned the federal courts to be allowed to identify themselves as white in 1920. North African immigrants, as members of the MENA population, got pulled along and found themselves legally classified as white as well.
The discriminatory policy for citizenship and property ownership favoring whites-only ended with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. But even then, MENA communities found it difficult to raise funds and mobilize calls for action to address their needs. They didn’t know where their fellow compatriots were located and couldn’t raise official numbers to request funds and resources.
“We were helpless. In many instances, we had to generate our own data,” says Dr. Qutami.
Over the years, the Census Bureau has never clearly answered why they’ve refused to include the MENA classification, despite concluding, in a 2017 report, that “the inclusion of a MENA category helps MENA Respondents to more accurately report their MENA identities.”
The bureau again turned down the 2018 request for the 2020 census. Karen Battle, chief of the bureau’s population division, announced in a public meeting on census preparations that “We do feel that more research and testing is needed.”
MENA advocates believe filling out the 2020 census is the only way to avoid another undercount. Without doing this, Yusui says, “our communities will continue to be invisible and left in the margins because data really matters.”
Gaining services customized to MENA’s needs is only part of what’s at stake. So, too, argues Yusufi, is building power. MENA populations then can elect individuals “who reflect the needs of our communities and hold lawmakers accountable” when they stigmatize MENA communities.
Kathay Feng of the nonpartisan watchdog Common Cause emphasized that participation in the census is the first step to representation. In America, resources and rights are accorded by representation based on the number of residents at all levels, from the state down to the municipality, in proportion to the total population.
“Everyone is counted, regardless of immigration status or whether they are registered voters or not,” Feng said, “because all residents pay taxes in one way or another, and most immigrants would eventually become citizens in the long run.”
Every 10 years, immediately after the decennial census submits population data, electoral districts are redrawn. In California, which has been at the forefront of redistricting reforms, the old practice of allowing legislators to draw district lines based on which populations are sure to vote them back into office — known as gerrymandering — was replaced in 2009 by independently selected commissioners. Nine other states have followed California’s lead.
But, Feng emphasized, to be effective and to ensure their voices are heard, residents have to be engaged at the local level. And this year, there is a danger that anti-immigrant forces will restrict the residents who count in redistricting to voters only.
“In the city of El Cajon, San Diego, we faced a lot of discrimination, especially when the Syrian refugees arrived. Our children got bullied in school but the schools didn’t want to adopt any bullying policy because we don’t have representation,” said Dilkhwaz Ahmed, executive director of License to Freedom. “Representation is very important to us as a Kurdish community, as refugees, and as immigrants.”
Emilio Vaca is optimistic that California can meet the undercount challenge: “As of May 11, California has a self-response rate of 59.6 percent, which is above the national average of 58 percent.” This is all the more impressive, Vaca noted, given how the pandemic has affected outreach.
Many of the speakers on the call testified to the ongoing efforts to shift to virtual outreach and “drive by” caravans and taking the census to where the people are.
“We had a food bank event for the Middle Eastern and Muslim community in south Sacramento that attracted more than 2,000 families who came by cars, and we actually engaged with them about the census in every single car,” said Basim Elkarra, executive director of CAIR in Sacramento. “Many were recent refugees.”
The 2020 census form doesn’t include the MENA racial category, but Question 9 allows respondents to write in “MENA” and their specific ethnicities such as Lebanese, Palestinian, Algerian or Kurd.
Being visible in the 2020 census, the speakers agreed, will lay the foundation for the next few MENA generations to build on what this generation has started.
This article originally published in the May 25, 2020 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.
Report reviews human rights in 19 MENA states during 2019
Wave of protests across Algeria, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon demonstrates reinvigorated faith in people power
500+ killed in Iraq and over 300 in Iran in brutal crackdowns on protests
Relentless clampdown on peaceful critics and human rights defenders
At least 136 prisoners of conscience detained in 12 countries for online speech
Governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) displayed a chilling determination to crush protests with ruthless force and trample over the rights of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets to call for social justice and political reform during 2019, said Amnesty International today, publishing its annual report on the human rights situation in the region.
Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Review of 2019 describes how instead of listening to protesters’ grievances, governments have once again resorted to relentless repression to silence peaceful critics both on the streets and online. In Iraq and Iran alone, the authorities’ use of lethal force led to hundreds of deaths in protests; in Lebanon police used unlawful and excessive force to disperse protests; and in Algeria the authorities used mass arrests and prosecutions to crack down on protesters. Across the region, governments have arrested and prosecuted activists for comments posted online, as activists turned to social media channels to express their dissent.2019 was a year of defiance in MENA. It also was a year that showed that hope was still alive – and that despite the bloody aftermath of the 2011 uprisings in Syria, Yemen and Libya and the catastrophic human rights decline in Egypt – people’s faith in the collective power to mobilize for change was revived Heba Morayef
“In an inspiring display of defiance and determination, crowds from Algeria, to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon poured into the streets – in many cases risking their lives – to demand their human rights, dignity and social justice and an end to corruption. These protesters have proven that they will not be intimidated into silence by their governments,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Director for MENA.
“2019 was a year of defiance in MENA. It also was a year that showed that hope was still alive – and that despite the bloody aftermath of the 2011 uprisings in Syria, Yemen and Libya and the catastrophic human rights decline in Egypt – people’s faith in the collective power to mobilize for change was revived.”
The protests across MENA mirrored demonstrators taking to the streets to demand their rights from Hong Kong to Chile. In Sudan, mass protests were met with brutal crackdowns by security forces and eventually ended with a negotiated political agreement with associations who had led the protests.
Crackdown on protests on the streets
Across the MENA region authorities employed a range of tactics to repress the wave of protests – arbitrarily arresting thousands of protesters across the region and in some cases resorting to excessive or even lethal force. In Iraq and Iran alone hundreds were killed as security forces fired live ammunition at demonstrators and thousands more were injured.In an inspiring display of defiance and determination, crowds from Algeria, to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon poured into the streets – in many cases risking their lives – to demand their human rights, dignity and social justice and an end to corruption. These protesters have proven that they will not be intimidated into silence by their governments Heba Morayef
In Iraq where at least 500 died in demonstrations in 2019, protesters showed tremendous resilience, defying live ammunition, deadly sniper attacks and military tear gas grenades deployed at short range causing gruesome injuries.
In Iran, credible reports indicated that security forces killed over 300 people and injured thousands within just four days between 15 and 18 November to quell protests initially sparked by a rise in fuel prices. Thousands were also arrested and many subjected to enforced disappearance and torture.
In September, Palestinian women in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories took to the streets to protest against gender-based violence and Israel’s military occupation. Israeli forces also killed dozens of Palestinians during demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank.
“The shocking death tolls among protesters in Iraq and Iran illustrate the extreme lengths to which these governments were prepared to go in order to silence all forms of dissent,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for MENA. “Meanwhile, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel’s policy of using excessive, including lethal, force against demonstrators there continued unabated.” The shocking death tolls among protesters in Iraq and Iran illustrate the extreme lengths to which these governments were prepared to go in order to silence all forms of dissent Philip Luther
In Algeria, where mass protests led to the fall of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after 20 years in power, authorities sought to quash protests through mass arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of peaceful demonstrators.
While the mass protests in Lebanon since October, which led to the resignation of the government, began largely peacefully, on a number of occasions protests were met with unlawful and excessive force and security forces failed to intervene effectively to protect peaceful demonstrators from attacks by supporters of rival political groups.
In Egypt, a rare outbreak of protests in September which took the authorities by surprise was met with mass arbitrary arrests with more than 4,000 detained.
“Governments in MENA have displayed a total disregard for the rights of people to protest and express themselves peacefully,” said Heba Morayef.
“Instead of launching deadly crackdowns and resorting to measures such as excessive use of force, torture, or arbitrary mass arrests and prosecutions, authorities should listen to and address demands for social and economic justice as well as political rights.”
Repression of dissent online
As well as lashing out against peaceful protesters on the streets, throughout 2019 governments across the region continued to crack down on people exercising their rights to freedom of expression online. Journalists, bloggers and activists who posted statements or videos deemed critical of the authorities on social media faced arrest, interrogation and prosecutions. Governments in MENA have displayed a total disregard for the rights of people to protest and express themselves peacefully Heba Morayef
According to Amnesty International’s figures, individuals were detained as prisoners of conscience in 12 countries in the region and 136 people were arrested solely for their peaceful expression online. Authorities also abused their powers to stop people accessing or sharing information online. During protests in Iran, the authorities implemented a near-total internet shutdown to stop people sharing videos and photos of security forces unlawfully killing and injuring protesters. In Egypt, authorities disrupted online messaging applications in an attempt to thwart further protests. Egyptian and Palestinian authorities also resorted to censoring websites including news websites. In Iran social media apps including Facebook, Telegram, Twitter and YouTube remained blocked.
Some governments also use more sophisticated techniques of online surveillance to target human rights defenders. Amnesty’s research highlighted how two Moroccan human rights defenders were targeted using spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group. The same company’s spyware had previously been used to target activists in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as an Amnesty International staff member.
More broadly, Amnesty International recorded 367 human rights defenders subjected to detention (240 arbitrarily detained in Iran alone) and 118 prosecuted in 2019 – the true numbers are likely to be higher.
“The fact that governments across MENA have a zero-tolerance approach to peaceful online expression shows how they fear the power of ideas that challenge official narratives. Authorities must release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally and stop harassing peaceful critics and human rights defenders,” said Philip Luther.
Signs of hope
Despite ongoing and widespread impunity across MENA, some small but historic steps were taken towards accountability for longstanding human rights violations. The announcement by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that war crimes had been committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and that an investigation should be opened as soon as the ICC’s territorial jurisdiction has been confirmed offered a crucial opportunity to end decades of impunity. The ICC indicated that the investigation could cover Israel’s killing of protesters in Gaza. The fact that governments across MENA have a zero-tolerance approach to peaceful online expression shows how they fear the power of ideas that challenge official narratives. Authorities must release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally and stop harassing peaceful critics and human rights defenders Philip Luther
Similarly, in Tunisia the Truth and Dignity Commission published its final report and 78 trials started before criminal courts offering a rare chance for security forces to be held accountable for past abuses.
The limited advances in women’s rights, won after years of campaigning by local women’s rights movements, were outweighed by the continuing repression of women’s rights defenders, particularly in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a broader failure to eliminate widespread discrimination against women. Saudi Arabia introduced long-overdue reforms to its male guardianship system, but these were overshadowed by the fact that five women human rights defenders remained unjustly detained for their activism throughout 2019. Governments across the region must learn that their repression of protests and imprisonment of peaceful critics and human rights defenders will not silence people’s demands for fundamental economic, social and political rights Heba Morayef
A number of Gulf states also announced reforms to improve protection for migrant workers including promises from Qatar to abolish its kafala (sponsorship system) and improve migrants’ access to justice. Jordan and the United Arab Emirates also signalled plans to reform the kafala system. However, migrant workers continue to face widespread exploitation and abuse across the region.
“Governments across the region must learn that their repression of protests and imprisonment of peaceful critics and human rights defenders will not silence people’s demands for fundamental economic, social and political rights. Instead of ordering serious violations and crimes to stay in power, governments should ensure the political rights needed to allow people to express their socio-economic demands and to hold their governments to account,” said Heba Morayef.
An article of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) posted on July 24, 2018 elaborates on the phenomenon of desperate populations migration across the Mediterranean Sea. These are desperate for a multitude of reasons that are all linked to unsurmountable situations in the countries of origin. Dynamics of migration across the Mediterranean a year ago, touched on these reasons but only from a European perspective. In any case, going by the map below, the situation as described in this article has certainly not improved; to the contrary it has gone worse to say the least.
The picture above is of Xinhua’s “People take to streets across America to protest Trump’s immigration policy” that could eventually mark a certain difference between the two worlds.
Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 53,269 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 22 July 2018. That total compares to 110,603 at this time last year, and 244,722 at this time in 2016.
Arrivals to Spain (see chart below) this month have overtaken those to Italy. To date just over 36 per cent of all Mediterranean irregular migrants have come via the Western Mediterranean route, whose irregular migration volume has more than tripled those registered at this time last year.
Arrivals to Italy are nearly identical, but still trail Spain by just over 1,600 arrivals. Greece counts about 29 per cent of all arrivals. Significantly, Greece’s arrivals thus far in 2018 are running almost 5,000 ahead of last year’s totals on this date, an increase of better than 50 per cent. Arrivals to Italy, on the other hand, are down over 80 per cent compared to 2017 data.
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported Thursday (19 July) that the number (3,136) of irregular migrant arrivals to Italy by sea in June this year was the lowest recorded by Italian authorities since 2014 (see chart below).
Nonetheless in the month of June the Central Mediterranean route linking Italy to North Africa recorded the highest number of June deaths along this channel in the past four years. In June 2018, some 564 migrants were reported drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Sicily. That compares with 529 in 2017, with 388 in 2016, five in 2015 and 314 in 2014. Through 18 July, 153 additional fatalities have been recorded on this route.
OM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 1,492 men, women and children seeking to cross the Mediterranean in 2018 – more than half of those deaths since 1 June.
Most recently IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of a woman and a man whose remains were recovered in Tajoura and Garabulli, Libya on 19 July. MMP also recorded a tragedy on the Turkey-Greece border, where a woman and her three children drowned in the Evros/Meriç river on 19 July. They were crossing the river with another five people in an attempt to reach Greece when their boat capsized. The bodies of the 36-year-old Turkish woman and her one-year-old son were recovered on 20 July on the Turkish side of the river, while a search and rescue operation is still underway to locate the remains of her two other children, aged 5 and 7.
IOM Libya’s Christine Petré on Monday (23 July) reported that over the weekend, 156 migrants were returned to Libyan soil by the Libyan Coast Guard. On Saturday (21 July), 40 migrants (31 men, eight women, one child) were returned to Libyan shore after having embarked on a rubber boat in Zuwara. The migrants received IOM’s emergency assistance including food, water and health care including pregnancy check-ups for two women. One of the women was in critical condition and received first aid before being transferred to a nearby hospital. The migrants came from Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt and Syria. Following humanitarian assistance, each was transferred to Tajoura detention centre.
On Sunday (22 July), 116 migrants (111 men, five women) who left Libya on a rubber boat in Garaboli received IOM’s emergency assistance including food, water, health care and protection screenings after being intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. Most of the migrants – from Sudan, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Egypt and Gambia – suffered from headaches, muscle pain and scabies. Those migrants also were transferred to Tajoura detention centre.
So far this year, 12,136 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore, Petré said.
IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 19,586 men, women and children, irregular migrants who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 22 July, with nearly 1,000 arriving over the weekend. With this month’s figures Spain is the Mediterranean’s most-sought destination for irregular migrants traveling by sea, surpassing Italy and Greece.
Additionally, 3,125 migrants have attempted to enter Spain irregularly via the country’s African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, according to Spanish authorities.
As remarkable as Spain’s rise in irregular migration activity has been through 2018, even more important is its recent surge. Over the year’s first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa – an average of 54 per day. In the 52 days since May 31, a total of 11,436 have arrived – or just under 220 migrants per day (see chart below).
IOM Athens’ Christine Nikolaidou said Monday that IOM has learned from the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) of at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations between 19 and 22 July off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, and Chios. The HCG rescued a total of 87 migrants and transferred them to those islands. At least 245 landed on those same islands without intervention – plus 79 more on Kos, Megisti and Oinouses – bringing to 411 the total arrivals during those four days.
Through 22 July, the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory since January 1 is 15,351.
April remains the busiest month for irregular migration by land and sea to Greece, with a total of 7,009 men, women and children arriving. February was the lowest with 1,610 (see charts below).
IOM’s Kristina Uzelac reported that almost 13,000 irregular migrants have been registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania between January and the second week of July 2018. Of those, some 70 per cent have been apprehended by the Bosnian police, a total of 9,035 as of 15 July 2018. One third of all migrants registered were from Pakistan (33 per cent). Syrian nationals represent the second largest nationality group (16 per cent) followed by migrants from Afghanistan (12 per cent), the Islamic Republic of Iran (12 per cent) and Iraq (9 per cent).
Considering the limited capacity of official reception centres in the country (120 in Asylum and 100 in the Closed Reception centre), majority of migrants must stay in alternative shelters, mainly in the north-western part of the country, near the border with Croatia. IOM mobile teams have assisted more than 1,600 individuals with transportation, legal counsel, interpreter services, and medical referrals.
Reported arrivals to Albania are stable with estimated 38 to 40 apprehensions on entry into the country on a weekly basis. As of 14 July, authorities in Albania registered 1,305 irregular migrants on entry to the country and another 651 who were intercepted exiting the country to Montenegro.
Registered migrants are predominantly Syrian, Pakistani and Iraqi. Since 1 January, an estimated 2,283 irregular migrants have entered Montenegro, mainly from Albania. Almost half of all migrants were of Syrian origin (44 per cent). Pakistani nationals were the second largest group comprising 18 per cent of the overall arrivals, followed by Algerian (11 per cent) and Iraqi (7 per cent) nationals.
According to available data, irregular entries to Croatia and Slovenia also have increased between January and June 2018 when compared with the same period in 2017. In Croatia, Border Police reported 2,552 irregular entries this year, a 97 per cent increase compared to 1,297 reported in the same period last year and 11 per cent more than the total of 2,292 reported for the whole 2017.
Data from Slovenian Ministry of Interior indicate a four-fold increase in irregular entries between the second quarter of 2017 and 2018. At the end of June 2018, there were 3,266 registered irregular entries versus 748 reported at the end of June 2018 (1,930 reported in the whole of 2017). Available nationality breakdown indicates that the majority of intercepted migrants in both countries are from Pakistan, Algeria, Turkey, Syrian Arab Republic and Afghanistan.
According to available data from the official website of the Croatian Ministry of Interior, there were at least 13 incidents related to migrant smuggling in the past two months. The Croatian police arrested 21 people under suspicion of human smuggling. Arrested individuals were from Austria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Syrian Arab Republic, Pakistan, Iraq, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, proving the international character of the smuggling networks operating in the region.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 2,255 people while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).
Besides the Mediterranean region, MMP reported that in the Horn of Africa, at least five people drowned in the Gulf of Aden when the boat in which they were travelling with 160 people capsized off the coast of Yemen on 19 July. The remains of two women and one man were retrieved in Al Shoghayrat, Shabwa Governorate, Yemen, while according to survivors’ testimonies, two men remain missing.
On the US-Mexico border, three people died recently while trying to cross into the United States. According to the Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass, the remains of a 40-year-old man, of unknown identity, were found in a ranch near Carrizo Springs, Texas on 19 July. The day after, Mexican civil protection authorities recovered the body of a young man from the Río Bravo/Grande, near the second international bridge in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. On 21 July, after receiving a distress call, US Border Patrol officers found the body of a 34-year-old Guatemalan man who had died of dehydration in a ranch near Hebbronville, Texas.
In Mexico, a young migrant was killed by a freight train on 19 July. He was severely injured after falling from the top of the train in which he was travelling north to the US border, and died at the hospital in Saltillo, Coahuila a few hours later.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.
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