Tilbury tragedy and lack of safe routes for refugees - Refugee Council
August 19, 2014

Tilbury tragedy and lack of safe routes for refugees

Over the weekend, 34 people were rescued from a shipping container at Tilbury Docks. Sadly, it was already too late for one man, who had died en route.

The people inside were Afghan Sikhs; thirteen were children, including a one year old.

According to news reports, the group had been discovered after they begun banging on the container door. After one of the children inside had discovered their father’s death, the group thought they too may only have minutes left to live.

The group had reportedly spent 18 hours inside the container, following a long journey from Kabul in the back of the lorry.

All have now claimed asylum.

This tragedy is another grim reminder of the difficulties people face as they flee their home countries in search of safety.  

Due to a lack of safe and legal routes for refugees to escape persecution, in desperation people are often left with no choice than to use the services of people smugglers; forced into taking dangerous journeys, with little control over their destination.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “This tragedy illustrates, all too painfully, the desperate measures that people who are in fear of persecution, yet have no one to turn to for protection in their home countries, will take in search of safety.

“For those trying to access Fortress Europe, this usually means having to rely on people smugglers.  

“Unless we want to see more deaths on our doorstep, the UK and wider EU must create safe, legal, routes for people fleeing persecution to obtain the refugee protection they are entitled to.”