Last night a 25-year-old refugee from Sudan died after being hit by a train in Calais.
Over time, the French authorities’ harassment and evictions of refugees in Calais has reduced the number of places they can sleep to a few small outlying areas on the edges of the town.
More and more areas of scrubland where refugees live have been fenced off, with the result that some people are now sleeping on scraps of wasteland. Some of that wasteland is near serious hazards such as train tracks.
The man killed last night was walking along a train track in order to get back to his tent.
The man was walking with a friend, who was unhurt. He was hit by a train travelling from Dunkirk at about 7.15pm. The emergency services arrived quickly, but the team of 13 firemen were unable to save him.
This young man is the fourth refugee to die in Calais this year. The tragic death shows again how precarious refugees’ lives are in Calais.
Given these extreme risks, we must ask yet again why the UK government refuses to put in place a system allowing refugees in Northern France safe passage to the United Kingdom.
It is heartbreaking and appalling that someone should flee from danger, endure enormous risks on their journey, then die in this way so close to their destination. And yet the truth is that this young man’s death barely merits a mention even in the French local press. For the sake of people like him, we will never stop fighting to bring this situation to the world’s attention.