Sunderland Minster hosts vigil for channel crossing

Amnesty International’s Wearside branch held a vigil in memory of the 27 who drowned on November 24, during a desperate attempt to claim asylum.

The vigil fell on International Human Rights Day, welcomed on December 10 every year.

The victims were 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children. 

The vigil was addressed by Revd Chris Howson, chaplain at the University of Sunderland and associate priest at Sunderland Minster.

The names of the dead were read out by 27 attendees of the vigil. So far only one woman, 24 year-old Baran Nuri Muhamadamin from Iraqi Kurdistan, has been named.

Revd Chris Howson, who is also Chair of City of Sanctuary Sunderland, said: “The Minster has been supporting International Human Rights day for over a decade, but this time we wanted to remember those lost in the English Channel.

“Working with Amnesty International and the charity Asylum Matters we want to say that refugees are welcome here.”

Steve Newman, secretary of Wearside Amnesty International, said: “Amnesty International continues to call on the UK government to provide safe and legal routes for asylum seekers so that they are not at the mercy of people smugglers and hostile weather conditions.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill currently going through Parliament does not do this and is likely to force more people to attempt perilous journeys, such as the one which had such tragic consequences three weeks ago.”

First published on: 14th December 2021
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