Today campaigners held an early morning vigil outside the gates of Hassockfield/Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) to mark the deaths of 27 migrants in the English Channel one year ago. Candles were lit and local faith leaders led prayers for those who died trying to reach a better life. Photographs of the drowned people, many of them young, and one of them two children and a mother and her unborn baby, were displayed as their names were read out.
The poignant roll call can be viewed here.
Owen Temple, chairperson of the No To Hassockfield campaign said:
“We are holding this vigil today to remember and pray for the 27 people who tragically died in the dangerous Channel crossing that was their only way to achieve their dream of sanctuary in Britain. And we also share in this vigil here at Derwentside IRC to hold in our hearts those who have made the same dangerous journey, with the same dream, only to find themselves locked up indefinitely by the country they trusted.”
One world family
A member of the Justice and Peace Coordinating Council said:
“We know most of the names of the ones that drowned a year ago – men, women and children (one unborn), at least 27 people. Five people are still missing. They were human beings that were part of our family. There is only one world family, we are all part of it.”
This was one of many events to mark the anniversary and to remember the families who today will be mourning the loss of their loved ones, in Britain and in the countries they fled from.
In addition to this vigil, local groups encourage all concerned to join the ongoing prayer vigil at 3pm every first Sunday of the month and the demonstrations at the site on 17 December and continuing third Saturdays every month at 12 noon.