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Assoc. Prof. Paulina Polko, PhD a member of the COST Action Management Committee

Assoc. Prof. Paulina Polko, PhD has become a member of the Management Committee of the COST Action CA22106 - Migrant Disaster Victim Identification (MDVI) funded by Horizon Europe. The aim of the activities of this research network is to increase the effectiveness of identification processes for migrant disaster victims. Currently, only 22 percent of them are identified due to a lack of communication between countries of origin and arrival and stakeholders: decision-makers, forensic specialists, humanitarian organizations and government agencies, which prevents the full potential of available identification technologies and existing but scattered and often difficult-to-access data. UNHCR (2022) estimates that more than 24,000 people have died on the Mediterranean route alone since 2014.

Illegal immigration is now a global problem, and labor migration is a critical issue for many European countries. Many thousands of migrants lose their lives trying to enter Europe by land or sea. Yet despite the scale of these tragedies over the past decade, European governments have done little to guarantee the right of families to know the fate of missing migrant relatives. Meanwhile, from an ethical standpoint, it is a moral imperative to try to identify each person, which is particularly challenging when the country of origin is poor or war-torn, identification data is lacking, and migration is undocumented and unmonitored. The result is a global humanitarian crisis. Effective identification is also essential to ensure security in the countries of the European Union.

The interdisciplinary research and coordinated initiatives (meetings, training, short-term scientific missions and online activities) planned under the COST Action will strengthen the development and evaluation of international identification processes and the resources needed to implement them, including the use of innovative methods based on facial analysis, drones and social media.


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Assoc. Prof. Paulina Polko, PhD

Head of the Security Sciences Department at the WSB University