Asylum seeker death toll rising

July 30, 2015 — News

Written by Harmit Athwal

In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured.

calaislorries copyThe media have concentrated on the chaos at strike-torn Calais and the stress on lorry drivers there, as well as the hardships for holiday-makers as traffic builds up.  The bigger context – the complete disintegration of EU asylum policy, the lack of solidarity between member-states, many of whom are boycotting the European Commission’s burden-sharing scheme – is seldom touched upon. Below we attempt to record the cost in human terms of the crisis of the last two months.

Deaths and serious injuries sustained in the last two months

At least thirteen people have died over the last two months and a number of others have suffered serious injuries trying to reach the UK.

  • 30 July: A Sudanese woman is found dead in a lorry at Calais.
  • 29 July: A 16-year-old Egyptian boy is in a critical condition after being electrocuted while trying to board a Eurostar train in Paris. (Le Parisien, 29 July 2015)
  • 29 July: A man believed to be Sudanese, aged between 25-30, is knocked over and crushed to death by a lorry leaving a ferry in Calais. (Guardian, 29 July 2015; Independent, 29 July 2015)
  • 29 July: A Pakistani man dies from his injuries after being run over near Calais a day earlier.
  • 27 July: Two Sudanese men suffer serious injuries, but survive after being hit by a train near the Channel Tunnel. (Guardian, 29 July 2015)
  • 24 July: According to campaigners in Calais a young Eritrean woman dies after being sprayed with CS spray by police officers and running into the path of a car on the A16. (Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 27 July 2015)
  • 23 July: The body of teenage boy is found in the loading bay of a Eurotunnel train at Folkestone. (Kent Online, 24 July 2015)
  • 22 July: Two unidentified men suffer serious injuries after falling from underneath a lorry on the M20 in Kent where they are found on the hard shoulder of the motorway. (NewsShopper, 22 July 2015)
  • 19 July: Houmed Moussa, a 17-year-old Eritrean teenager is found drowned after apparently falling into a 20-foot deep-water basin near the Eurotunnel. (Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 27 July 2015)
  • 17 July: Achrat Mohamad, a 23-year-old Pakistani man dies of burns sustained after being electrocuted by a pylon near the Channel Tunnel a few nights earlier. Two others also suffered serious injuries. (BBC News, 14 July; Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 27 July 2015)
  • 7 July: A man is found dead in the Channel Tunnel. (Independent, 7 July 2015)
  • 4 July: A 20-year-old Eritrean woman falls from a truck triggering a premature delivery of a stillborn baby at twenty-two weeks. (Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 27 July 2015)
  • 29 June: The body of a 23-year-old Eritrean woman, Zebiba, is found on the A16 near Calais. (Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 7 July 2015))
  • 26 June: A 32-year-old Ethiopian man Getenet Legese Yacob is killed after trying to board a freight train near Coquelles. (Guardian, 26 June 2015, Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 7 July 2015)
  • 18 June: The body of an unidentified man is found on the roof of a building in Richmond, west London after apparently falling from a plane arriving from South Africa; while another 24-year-old man is found in the undercarriage of the plane and taken to hospital and remains in a critical condition after surviving the 11-hour journey. When IRR News enquired as to the condition of the man, the Met police said that the investigation had been handed over to the UK Border Agency who in turn said that they do not routinely comment on individual cases. At least nine others have been killed since 1989 trying to get to the UK in such a dangerous way, and only one person is known to have survived. In October 1996, after stowing away on the plane from India, 23-year-old Pardeep Saini was found was found by baggage-handlers at Heathrow airport suffering from hypothermia in a journey which resulted in the death of his younger brother, Vijay, 19, who fell from the plane as it approached Heathrow. (Guardian, 22 June 2015; IRR News, Death Trap: the human cost of the war on asylum, September 2004)
  • 1 June: An Ethiopian man dies after being hit by a car on the A16 in Calais. (Calais Migrant Solidarity press release, 7 July 2015)

Related links 

Calais Migrant Solidarity

IRR report: Unwanted, unnoticed: an audit of 160 asylum and immigration-related deaths in Europe

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2005 onwards

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2002-2004

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 1989-2001

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.


August 4, 2015
Ayar Ata:

No human is illegal. This is a testing time for Europe to find an urgent and fair solution to deal with current refugee crisis in Calais and beyond.

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