Why have hundreds of life jackets washed up on the Thames? | ActionAid UK

Eva Watkinson

Campaigns Engagement Manager

This morning hundreds of life jackets washed up on the banks of the river Thames in London. We created this visual installation to highlight the plight of the thousands of refugees who have risked their lives trying to reach safety, and demand that our government does more to help ahead of the Refugees Welcome Here march this Saturday. Will you join us? 

Hundreds of lifejackets on the bank of the River Thames to highlight the plight of refugees who have fled war-torn countries in search of safety in Europe ahead of the Refugees Welcome March
Hundreds of lifejackets on the bank of the River Thames to highlight the plight of refugees who have fled war-torn countries in search of safety in Europe ahead of the Refugees Welcome March

Over the last few years this sort of picture has become a familiar sight. We’ve become used to seeing images in the media from places like Greece and across Europe, where thousands of refugees have attempted a perilous crossing to flee war torn-countries and reach safety.

There are more refugees in the world now than there have ever been, 65.3 million. ActionAid has been supporting refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos - running mother and baby centres to support refugee mums and helping families recover from their trauma and loss.

Yet politicians have continuously failed to address the causes of the crisis and give people the support they need.

That’s why we decided to bring the debate to the heart of London, and take hundreds of lifejackets, representing the thousands of people who have died in the last year trying to cross the Mediterranean to the steps of parliament. Working with Islamic Relief, we wanted to make sure the message was heard loud and clear that more needs to be done to support refugees.

Join us on the Refugee Welcome Here March this Saturday

Political action has been frustratingly slow. The UK Government’s progress towards meeting its pledge to resettle just 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 is far too small, compared to the scale of the crisis.

The next week is crucial. This Saturday, the 17th September, the Refugees Welcome Here March will bring together thousands of people from across the UK calling on the government to do more. This is ahead of two key meetings in New York, where world leaders will be meeting to discuss the crisis.

It’s vital that as many of us as possible join the march and make our voices heard.

We are calling on the UK to do more to welcome refugees, to respect the rights of people on the move, and to tackle migration’s root causes: conflict, climate change and inequality.

Will you join us?

Sign up to march with ActionAid on 17th September 

Photo: ActionAid