Report: Deaths of UK asylum-seekers

Posted by admin on Nov 14th, 2006

Driven to desperate measures By Harmit Athwal, The Institute of Race Relations (UK), Nov 2006. 

Read Full Report Here

The Institute of Race Relations has catalogued a roll call of death of the 221 asylum seekers and migrants who have died either in the UK or attempting to reach the UK in the past seventeen years.

97 died taking dangerous and highly risky methods to enter the country. With legal barriers in place to prevent them securing visas or work permits to enter legally and sanctions applying to above-board carriers, the desperate stow away on planes and lorries or attempt to cross the channel in makeshift boats or cling to trains. The number recorded here is probably only a fraction of those who have died in this way. Our figures rely on news reports and by virtue of the subject matter these deaths are not news.

70 died as an indirect consequence of the iniquities of the immigration/asylum system – either by taking their own lives when claims were not allowed, or by meeting accidental deaths evading deportation, or during the deportation itself, or by being prevented medical care, through becoming destitute in the UK.

Since 1989, there have been 71 suicides of asylum seekers and foreign nationals. 36 suicides of asylum seekers took place in the community and 22 suicides of asylum seekers and foreign nationals in prisons, removal centres and psychiatric custody. Suicides are now of particular concern. In the last five years alone there have been 41 suicides – 15 in detention and 26 in the community. In 2004, 12 people died at their own hand. In the last year there have been 5 suicides in the community.

6 asylum seekers have died since 1989 at one removal centre alone – Harmondsworth. Also, Tran Quang Tung, (35), who was found hanged in Dungavel removal centre on 23/7/04 had been transferred days earlier from Harmondsworth following the disturbance after the death of Sergey Barnuyck.

In the last five years there have been a number of deaths (suicides and racially motivated murders) in main dispersal areas such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol.

In the last five years, 8 asylum seekers/migrant workers have died as a result of a racially motivated attack.

In the last five years, 21 people have died as result of using dangerous and risky methods to enter the country. 4 have died after injuring themselves while jumping onto trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel in France and another 4 have died in the channel itself. 4 have died while stowing away in planes and being killed by the extreme temperatures. And another 7 people have died after being run over or injured after stowing away in vehicles.

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