Life Jackets in London As A Response to the Global Refugee Crisis

September 23, 2016

As world leaders met at the United Nations in New York to discuss the refugee crisis on September 19, 2016, thousands of life jackets were being laid out in the grass at Parliament Square. Global leaders meeting in New York will work to come up with a “blueprint for a better international response” for the millions of displaced refugees. Laid out in a “graveyard” installation were 2,500 life jackets worn by those who tried to cross over from Turkey to Greece.

It has been discovered that many of the life jackets were fake and given to others by people smugglers. A refugee named Ahmed from Syria was disturbed by this and told ABC News, “I remember one woman came with a little child and we had to put the lifejacket on the child, to fasten it, and we figured out that the lifejacket was fake.” 

Many of the life jackets, at least 625, were used by children. People smugglers did not stop for children, many of the life jackets children wore were also fake.

The IRC director of policy and practice, Sanj Srikanthan commented to Independent News, “Most of them are provided by smugglers, they are not safety checked, some of them absorb water, they become like an anchor if you fall in the water, especially for a child.” 

Eleven women and children have died everyday across Europe for the last 12 months attempting to get to safety. At the end of 2015, the United Nations estimated that 65.3 million people were refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced.

The “life jacket graveyard” was a one day installation in order to both pay tribute to the refugees and have an impact on the world leaders making the decisions about the refugee and migrant crisis.

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