Fortress Europe and the ever-rising death toll - Refugee Council
August 28, 2015

Fortress Europe and the ever-rising death toll

Hundreds of people are feared dead after two more boats have sunk after leaving Libya; as yet more people seeking safety in Europe tragically lose their lives.

The boats, thought to have nearly 500 people on board, capsized yesterday in Libyan waters.

The news follows the recent grim discovery of a refrigerated lorry with over 70 bodies inside on an Austrian roadside. According to media reports, fluids from the decomposing bodies inside were seen leaking onto the road. It is thought the lorry was travelling from Hungary, which has almost completed an enormous fence aimed at keeping refugees from entering the country.

We’re appalled by these latest humanitarian disasters but we’re not surprised. With no legal ways to reach safety or reunite with their loved ones, refugees are being increasingly forced into the hands of smugglers, taking ever greater risks in their attempts to find safe haven.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said:

“These entirely predictable tragedies have sent shockwaves across Europe; it’s an absolute disgrace that desperate refugees looking for safety have met their deaths in one of the richest countries in the world while hundreds of others are feared drowned on our doorstep.

“Yet is the latest in a long line of tragedies which shocks European leaders one day and is seemingly forgotten by them the next as they fail to acknowledge it is their own immigration policies which force refugees to keep taking such deadly risks.

“If more needless deaths are to be avoided, Europe and Britain must urgently create other routes to safety for refugees so they aren’t forced to risk their lives in these dreadful ways.”