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On 18 April 2015, a shipwreck in the Central Mediterranean caused the deaths of an estimated 800 people seeking to reach Italy. The EU responded to the tragedy by calling the first of many emergency summits and speeding up the issuance of the EU Agenda on Migration. A package of measures, meant to increase Europe’s border security and decrease the number of people seeking safety in the EU, included a ‘hotspot’ approach intended to expedite processing of asylum claims and swifter returns of those rejected.

One year on, arrivals to Italy and deaths along the way remain high. Numerous concerns have been raised about the way these hotspots function and the potential violation of people’s right to claim asylum. People rejected from the system are left confused, in a situation where they are unsure of their rights, and vulnerable to exploitation.

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