Amnesty holds beach body bags stunt
Published 22/04/2015 | 11:16
Two hundred black body bags were lined up on Brighton beach by campaigners highlighting Britain's "shameful" response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
Amnesty supporters zipped themselves into some of the body bags alongside a banner displaying the hashtag #DontLetThemDrown.
A campaigner then laid a wreath in the middle of the mass of bodies as they lay sprawled on the beach in front of the Brighton Wheel.
The stunt was staged as European leaders come under mounting pressure to agree a plan to stem the rising number of migrants killed trying to reach Europe for a better life.
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen said: "Until now, the British Government's response has been shameful but finally foreign ministers seem to be waking up to the need to act.
"EU governments must now urgently turn their rhetoric into action to stop more people drowning on their way to Europe."
More than 800 people drowned when a boat packed with migrants trying to reach Europe sank off the coast of Libya on Saturday.
Analysts predict that up to 30,000 migrants, including 2,500 children, could die attempting to cross the sea this year unless the crisis is tackled.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said the total of 3,279 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean last year could be surpassed within weeks.
Those who perished came from countries including Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Tomorrow, Prime Minister David Cameron will break off from the General Election campaign to attend a key summit in Brussels to discuss a 10-point plan drawn up on Monday.
Proposals include strengthening the Triton patrolling service and seeking a military mandate to seize and destroy people-smugglers' boats, backed by increased budgets for Frontex, which manages the borders of the 28-nation bloc.