Updates after 39 dead bodies found in lorry container

Government pressed to review immigration policy after lorry deaths

The Government is facing mounting calls from campaigners to provide safer, legal routes to the UK in a bid to save lives by deterring migrants from making dangerous journeys. Some charities have also organised a vigil in memory of the 39 people discovered in a container in Essex, which will take place outside the Home Office in London on Thursday evening. Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, told the PA news agency it was “difficult to know the true scale” of the problem but there were “clearly many people making dangerous journeys”.

It’s tragically not a rare event and it’s awful to just even say those words. “The reason that events like this keep happening links back to the policies and politics and underlying attitudes that lie behind, towards, immigration.” He said research by the charity suggested migrants knew they were taking risks but “they don’t have any other choice”.

Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the news was “truly tragic” but “depressingly predictable and avoidable.

If you deny people safe and regular travel routes to find safety, you are leaving them with no choice but to risk their lives on utterly perilous journeys and in the hands of criminal gangs. “These gangs are a symptom of a much deeper problem – namely governments’ failure to provide safety to those who desperately need it.

As long as we think the answer to this tragedy is about building high walls and impenetrable borders, this will keep happening.”

Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action, said the incident showed the “urgent need” for the Government to “create safe and legal routes to the UK for people fleeing war and persecution”.

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