UK Parliament Transformed Into A 'Graveyard Of Refugee Life Jackets'

Thousands of life jackets that were worn by refugees are displayed on the grass outside Parliament Square in London to symbolize a graveyard site.

Refugees have struggled and even died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, and a new “lifejacket graveyard” in London acknowledges their journey.

Volunteers with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and World Vision charities helped display 2,500 life vests outside the Houses of Parliament on Monday, according to TIME.

Sanj Srikanthan, a member of the IRC, said 650 of the life jackets shown on the grass near Parliament Square were used by child refugees.

“You can see the Disney stickers on some of them. They represent a snapshot of what refugees go through and are an illusion of safety; many of them are not even seaworthy. For a day at least, we want to bring an image of what it is to be a refugee to the people of London,” Srikanthan said.

The one-day installation of the life jackets represents the struggle of the refugees that traveled from Turkey to Chios, a Greek island, Mashable reports.

“These life jackets, in the UK for the first time, are a visual reminder of the suffering and risks hundreds of thousands of refugees have endured, and of the need for a concerted international response, responsibility sharing and secure pathways,” a statement from Snappin’ Turtle Productions, the installation organizer, read.  

The installation is being displayed on the same day of the  United Nations Migration Summit that will be held in New York. 

“On the day of the UN refugee summit in New York, we ask politicians: how many more people have to die at sea?” a spokeswoman for Women for Refugee Women said.

Just this year, 3,212 migrants and refugees died at the Mediterranean Sea, according to the International Organization for Migration

It’s inspiring that these volunteers chose to acknowledge the lives and struggles of refugees who made the risky journey. Hopefully they can extend the display to more than just one day. 

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

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