Author- CEREN SAGIR
Campaigners and MPs blame dangerous lack of safe passage as 39 found dead in lorry
MIGRANT rights campaigners called for safer and legal routes into Britain to save refugees’ lives, following the horrific deaths of 39 people found in a container lorry in Essex today.
The unidentified victims of a suspected mass murder — including a teenager — were found dead inside the refrigerated unit container at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of this morning.
A 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland who was driving the lorry from Bulgaria has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Essex Police believe that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge, Belgium, into Purfleet — docking in the early hours of this morning.
Care4Calais founder Claire Moseley said that although it was “horrified” to hear of the deaths, the volunteer group was not surprised.
She said: “The lack of safe legal routes for people to apply for asylum means that every day people who are simply seeking safety undertake dangerous journeys.
“In order to claim asylum in the UK you must physically be here unless you come via a resettlement programme. Other than this it has become impossible for people to come to the UK in a safe way. That’s why people take dangerous journeys to come here.”
Ms Moseley urged the government to work harder to find a solution and warned that, without legal routes to claim asylum, smugglers and traffickers will “keep exploiting these vulnerable people and avoidable deaths will continue.”
Stand Up To Racism co-convenor Sabby Dhalu said: “This horrific and tragic loss of life is a stark reminder of the human cost of a system which treats some of the most vulnerable people in the continent as scapegoats and numbers to be reduced.
“The long-standing demands of campaigners to ensure safe passage and treat migrants and refugees in a fair and humane manner must now be considered as a matter of urgency.”
Safe Passage, Refugee Action, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), the Refugee Council and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott have also called for safe and legal routes for people fleeing wars and persecution.
JCWI chief executive Satbir Singh said: “We need more than empty expressions of shock and sadness from [Home Secretary] Priti Patel and Boris Johnson. We need a commitment to opening safe and legal routes to the UK and quick decisions on applications from people seeking to make a better life here.
“People move — they always have and they always will. Nobody should have to risk their lives to do so.”
A spokesperson for Alarm Phone, an activist network providing support for people crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, told the Star: “When people need to move across borders but cannot do so freely, they have no choice but to use clandestine tactics and take dangerous routes.
“These 39 deaths are the cruel consequence of Europe’s restrictive borders, not on the individuals who are arrested for murder.”
Campaigners will gather outside the Home Office in London today at 6pm for a vigil marking the tragic loss of life and to call for urgent action to ensure safe passage and a fair system for those fleeing wars and poverty.