London ‘life jacket graveyard’ aims to send message

A display of life jackets worn by refugees during their crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Chois, are seen Parliament Square in central London, Britain September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

 

LONDON Aid organisations laid out 2,500 life jackets symbolizing refugee crossings to Europe in a demonstration outside the British parliament on Monday timed to coincide with a United Nations summit on the worldwide migrant crisis.

The orange life jackets spread out on the lawn of Parliament Square were worn by adults and children travelling from Turkey to Greece, part of a wave of migrants attempting the Mediterranean crossing to get to mainland Europe.

The United Nations refugee body UNHCR, International Rescue Committee, Migrant Voice, World Vision, and Médecins Sans Frontières collaborated for the display, which they called a “life jacket graveyard” to illustrate the risks migrants take.

The UNHCR estimates 6,940 people drowned or went missing while trying to reach Europe between January 2015 and August 2016.

“We hope this will send a message to the world leaders to call for durable solutions,” said Sanj Srikanthan, head of policy and practice at International Rescue Committee.

In New York, leaders of 193 states were gathering for the United Nations General Assembly, which was opening with its first ever summit specifically addressing global movements of refugees and migrants.

Aid organisations have often called on Britain to take more refugees but Prime Minister Theresa May was preparing to defend her country’s record.