The demonstrators called to their government to take action in the wake of rising migrant casualties.
Image via Twitter user Amnesty UK
More than 200 activists working with Amnesty UK staged a body bag protest on Brighton Beach to urge their government to respond to the migrant crisis occurring in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. The demonstrators climbed into black body bags and laid themselves on the beach in a somber and symbolic condemnation of the UK’s inaction in the wake of mounting migrant casualties. A wreath, inscribed with the words “Don’t Let them Drown”, lay nearby. On Twitter, the campaign continued under the #DontLetThemDrown hashtag.
In less than a week, more than 1,000 lives have been lost to the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, as migrants who attempted to make the turbulent and often fatal passage to Europe did not survive the journey. European nations have been exposed to criticism for their lack of action and their failure to assist migration across the seas. As they stand, EU policies largely function to hinder migration rather than to facilitate a safe transit for asylum seekers and displaced persons.
“Until now, the British government’s response has been shameful but finally foreign ministers seem to be waking up to the need to act,” said Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty UK, to the Guardian. “EU governments must now urgently turn their rhetoric into action to stop more people drowning on their way to Europe.”
As conflicts continue in Libya, Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, and the Ivory Coast, the number of people crossing borders—and seas—in search of better lives will only rise. Already, the number of migrants has surpassed record levels—in the first half of this month alone, 11,000 migrants were saved. But these rescue efforts fall short. In 2015 alone, more than 3,200 people have died, and that number doesn’t include the hundreds who have gone missing completely. Experts predict that 30,000 migrants could perish in transit this year should the situation persist as it is.