Media Release 20 June 2018

The Guardian publishes the full UNITED List of 34,361 Refugee Deaths on 20 June International Refugee Day

In recognition of World Refugee day, The Guardian, in collaboration with artist Banu Cennetoğlu, Chisenhale Gallery and Liverpool Biennial, is distributing the full UNITED ‘List of Deaths’ in its print and online edition.

Since 1993, UNITED for Intercultural Action has recorded the reported names, origins and causes of death for more than 34,000 refugees and migrants who have died whilst trying to get into Europe due to the restrictive policies of “Fortress Europe”. The List which currently contains 56 pages of names will be included in full in print and available to download on The Guardian’s as well as the UNITED website.

In a 64-page print supplement The List is accompanied by thought pieces covering how the shape of the refugee crisis has changed over the years. There are also case studies taking a deeper look behind some of the names of those listed and an interview with artist Banu Cennetoğlu, who since 2007, facilitates distribution of the List around the world.

Free of charge copies of the newspaper with the 64-page supplement will be available at Chisenhale Gallery (28 June–26 August 2018) and Liverpool Biennial (14 July–28 October 2018).

UNITED Campaign “Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe”: No More Deaths – Time for Change!

Fortress Europe is nearly impenetrable. Several deals made over the last years, such as the EU-Turkey deal or more recently the Italy-Libya deal, as well as the continued construction of walls and fences increasingly close routes to a life in safety. As a last chance, many are forced to choose a journey of life and death crossing the Mediterranean. However, most Lifeseekers don’t get to the other side of the Mediterranean. Refugees die suffocated in trucks, crossing rivers and mountains or are shot by guards. They die due to the inhumane conditions of detention centers or lack of medical assistance, commit suicide out of despair, or are killed after being deported to their country. They are denied both protection of our authorities and recourse to justice. Rescue boats are stranded on the Mediterranean for weeks while its passengers try to survive under inhumane conditions until an EU member state agrees to accept them at their port, such as in the recent case of the Aquarius. As diverse as they may seem, all of these deaths are direct results of EU border militarization, asylum laws, detention policies and deportations.

Many national governments throughout Europe have shifted to the right and changes in asylum legislation follow suit. Afghanistan today is categorised as a safe country of origin to deport people to, whereas European citizens are not advised to travel there claiming the country is one of the most dangerous in the world. Such explicit double standards are persistent and established in migration legislation throughout the European Union. Italy’s recent deal with Libya has resulted in severe human rights violations by the Libyan coast guards and increased the risk of [refugees to be subject to] human trafficking.

Every human has the right to look for a safe place to live, and the EU needs to establish secure access and humane treatment for those seeking refuge in Europe. We demand that death by policy must end and all member states have to provide safety and dignity for all as a minimum standard of human rights.

Mark Rice-Oxley, special projects editor, Guardian News & Media, said:

“This List of Deaths is a startling and heroic piece of work by UNITED for Intercultural Action. It exposes a terrifying truth of mounting human misery, of utterly preventable death stretching back more than 25 years – and of a failure of imagination by the world’s biggest bloc of liberal democracies. That is why The Guardian is publishing it in full on 20 June.”

Banu Cennetoğlu, artist, said:

“I believe the power of printed material and its possible impact especially in the case of this List. I hope the dissemination and the contextualisation through The Guardian and its editors will remind people the capacity they do have in order to interfere on those fatal policies and their makers.”

 Geert Ates, UNITED, said:

“Since 1993, we have recorded the names and incidents of refugee deaths to draw public attention to the deadly consequences of the building of a Fortress Europe. The dissemination of our full list by the world’s leading newspaper The Guardian on World Refugee Day, will help UNITED enormously to find wider support for the necessary change of policies: No More Deaths! Time for Change!”

For more information, please contact or Geert Ates (UNITED) +31-6-48808808

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List of Refugee Deaths (downloadable pdf)





The content of the ‘List of Deaths’ is the full responsibility of UNITED. This 20 June 2018 edition of The List is commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Liverpool Biennial, and printed and distributed by The Guardian. The Guardian did not produce, design or have any influence over The List


The UNITED ‘List of Deaths’ can be freely re-used, translated and redistributed, provided the source ( is mentioned and a copy is sent to UNITED.

Notes to editors

About UNITED for Intercultural Action

UNITED for Intercultural Action is the pan-European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants, refugees and minorities. Together with over 550 supporter organisations all around Europe, ranging from local grassroots associations to national and international NGOs, UNITED coordinates campaigns, organises conferences, takes part in projects, produces publications and undertakes advocacy work to protest against discrimination and promote our shared vision for a diverse and inclusive society.

About the UNITED List of Refugee Deaths

Since 1993 UNITED has been monitoring the deadly results of the building of ‘Fortress Europe’ by making a list of the refugees and migrants, who have died in their attempt of entering the ‘Fortress’ or as a result of Europe’s immigration policies. In the period 1993-2018 at least 34.361 refugee deaths can be attributed to the ‘Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe’. Most probably 1000s more are never found.

The ‘List of Deaths’ summarises information on where, when and under which circumstances they died. On all death cases further documentation is kept in archive. The data are collected through own research, information received from the network organisations in 48 countries and from local experts, journa’s and researchers in the field of migration. Compiled in the ‘List of Deaths’ they add up to an impressive listing and a strong campaign statement: No More Deaths – Time For Change!

The UNITED ‘List of Deaths’ has become a key tool for activists, artists, researchers, and journalists dealing with the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

About 20th June – International Refugee Day

On the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Convention in 2001, the United Nations General Assembly declared 20 June as the World Refugee Day.

UNITED stimulates an annual campaign around this date, aiming to highlight refugee issues from an NGO perspective at all levels: local, national and European. We call on civil society to protest against the fatal policies of Fortress Europe that lead to too many deaths of desperate people looking for safe refuge.

We call upon all organisations to take part in this campaign. Visit the Facebook page for regular updates, news, tips and see ‘join the campaign’ for ideas how to get involved.

About Guardian News & Media

Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishes, one of the world’s leading English-language newspaper websites. Traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience. In the UK, GNM publishes the Guardian newspaper six days a week, first published in 1821, and the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, The Observer. The Observer is renowned for agenda-setting journalism including, most recently, its series of global exclusives on Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. More info:

About artist Banu Cennetoğlu

Thanks to an ongoing cooperation with Istanbul-based artist Banu Cennetoğlu (b. 1970, Ankara, Turkey), the List has been published many times in multiple forms, including posters, billboards, newspaper supplements and public screens. See:

About Chisenhale Gallery

Chisenhale Gallery commissions and produces contemporary art, supporting international and UK-based artists to pursue new directions and make their most ambitious work to date. For audiences, the gallery provides opportunities to experience this process of art production through participation and critical reflection. Chisenhale Gallery has an award winning, 35-year history as one of London’s most innovative forums for contemporary art. Chisenhale Gallery is located on Chisenhale Road, a residential street in the heart of London’s East End.

About Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool Biennial is the UK biennial of contemporary art. Taking place every two years across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, the Biennial commissions international artists to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. Liverpool Biennial is underpinned by a programme of research, education, residencies and commissions. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned over 300 new artworks and presented work by more than 450 artists from around the world.