'˜Graveyard of lifejackets' in London to mark refugees' plight

Parliament Square in London has been transformed into a '˜graveyard of lifejackets' to coincide with the United Nations Migration Summit.

Parliament Square has been transformed into a 'graveyard of lifejackets'. Picture: SWNS
Parliament Square has been transformed into a 'graveyard of lifejackets'. Picture: SWNS

A total of 2,500 lifejackets worn by refugees crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Chios were laid out surrounding the statue of Winston Churchill in the square.

The life jackets, many made by people smugglers from non-buoyant materials, were worn by children and adults who negotiated the treacherous stretch of water in the Aegean Sea.

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At the summit later, Prime Minister Theresa May will tell fellow politicians there should be a better distinction between refugees and people attempting to enter a country for economic reasons.

She will say that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and stress that nations have a right to control their borders and a responsibility to prevent illegal and uncontrolled migration.

She will put forward her plan to address the “unprecedented levels of population movement” around the world.

At the UN summit for refugees and migrants, Mrs May will say that urgent measures are needed to address the issue and maintain “public confidence in the economic benefits of legal and controlled migration”.

Mrs May will argue that refugees should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in because the current trend of onward movement exposes them to increased danger and benefits criminal gangs.

She will warn that the large-scale movements being seen around the world are not in the interests of migrants or the countries they are leaving, travelling through or seeking to reach.

The crisis also risks undermining popular support and resources for refugees.