Drowned Migrants Remembered In African Union Memorial

Written by Dana Sanchez


Frehiwot Futema traveled from Ethiopia through Sudan to Lebanon seeking work. She was mistreated by employers, enduring leg and back injuries, but she survived. Now she’s back home and talking about her experience to others who want to go to Europe looking for work.

For many, the promise of a better life is too much to resist, BBC reports.

“Anyone who left their country knows how difficult it is,” Futema said. “I think it’s preferable to be healthy rather than migrating. I feel I can work in my own country and change myself.”

Diplomats, religious leaders and former migrants gathered for a memorial service at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa for the thousands of migrants who died trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The African Union has been criticized for failing to respond to the recent surge in the number of migrants attempting the crossing.

Those attending Saturday’s memorial offered prayers and speeches honoring the dead. The message there was that more needs to be done to deal with the huge numbers leaving Africa for work.

The African Union calls for a closer collaboration with international partners such as the European Union and United Nations on how to end the suffering and deaths at sea.