Grim crisis within EU borders

Story highlights

  • 71 bodies were found in an abandoned truck in Austria this week
  • Judith Sunderland: It's a grim reminder of crisis at and within EU borders

Judith Sunderland is associate Europe director at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are her own.

(CNN)Seventy-one decomposing bodies discovered in a truck on the side of an Austrian highway. Two hundred presumed drowned when their boat sunk off the Libyan coast. Fifty-two people found suffocated in the hold of another boat. This relentless catalog of death, within the space of 24 hours, is just the latest in a series of grim reminders of the crisis at and within EU borders.

That people are dying to reach the EU is, depressingly, not news. This year alone, more than 2,300 people have died in the Mediterranean, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Deaths at sea capture much of the attention, but countless (literally: we don't know exactly how many) have died of suffocation, dehydration, and exposure to the elements at EU land borders. One count puts the overall death toll at EU borders at more than 30,000 since 2000.