Samir’s Tragic Story
Samir, 17, thought he was finally about to reach the UK. Now he’s dead. The boys bowed their heads as they hoisted the coffin of their good friend Samir on to their shoulders at the entrance of Cimetière Nord in Crissey. The brightest, coldest sun lit up the pale wood of the coffin as the mourners walked to the corner of the burial ground reserved for Muslims. The temperature was -4C but none of the boys seemed to notice the cold as they prayed by the side of the grave, shed quiet tears and helped to gently lower the coffin into the frozen earth.
Everybody was still in shock at his premature death. Samir, 17, had followed a well-trodden escape route from Sudan via Libya and Italy before arriving in Calais, where he spent eight months before the French closed the camp. His family remains in Sudan and his mother requested that his full name not be used for fear of putting the family there in further danger from the Sudanese authorities.
Samir was one of the 1,900 children registered by the Home Office who sought sanctuary in the UK. Like hundreds of other youngsters still in France the day his application was registered with the Home Office, he thought his struggle to reach the UK was coming to an end.