Vigil for refugee who took his own life
Yesterday at around 10.50 am, a young male refugee from Sudan died after being hit by a train in Calais. The death appears to have been a suicide. Witnesses report the man stepping out in front of the train and the driver sounding the horn but being unable to stop.
The emergency services attended but were unable to save the victim, who was reported to be in his thirties.
The incident happened on a level crossing on the outskirts of Calais near a place where refugees stay, and where we distribute food. The man who died was well known to us. He had been struggling with living in a world which persecutes displaced people simply looking for safety and respect, and had told people he did not want to live any more. The news of his death has broken our hearts.
Tonight, Care4Calais volunteers were among the 150 people who stood in solidarity at a vigil that was held as a mark of respect of the life lost yesterday, and to denounce the border policies which have led to the death.
Members of local organisations as well as displaced people and community members came together to pay their respects and hold a minute’s silence. Beautiful words of remembrance were offered as we stood in a circle around four lit candles – a sight we have seen all too often in Calais over the last few years.
We also came to ask why safe and legal routes are still, despite the gravitas of each and every lost life, not being offered for fathers, mothers, daughters and brothers still searching for safety and kindness
Shockingly, this is the tenth reported refugee death in Calais in a year, and the fourth refugee death on the stretch of railway line in fourteen months. X
This reinforces yet again the need for humane border policies, and in particular the safe passage that would allow people to request asylum in the UK without experiencing such horror.
For the sake of people like this young man, we will continue to fight until such policies are put in place.