An artist made a portrait of Samrawit, the teenage girl who died last week on the motorway to the harbour during an attempt to cross to the UK. She writes :
« Samrawit was 17.
She was coming from Erythrea.
She has arrived in Calais five weeks ago, alone.
She wanted to join her older brother in the UK.
She had a shelter in the accommodation place for women.
She went to Steenvoorde to try to cross to rejoin him.
When the camp has been dismantled one week ago she came back in Calais, as many of those who were there.
The day after, a lorry has struck her on the road were she was with other refugees trying in panic to stop the traffic to « pass ».
The truck didn’t stop.
With all the cameras that monitor these ring roads and highways, we imagine that the investigation if there is one, will result?
Samrawit was underage, the Childhood protection was responsible for her situation. She should have been able to join directly her brother in the UK.
Dismantling a camp has a terrible human cost !
The women, the educators and all the team of the women shelter have a great sorrow.
Drawing Samrawit for me was to confront to an exceptionally deep, serious and mature eye.
I think about the title of a superb series of drawings from Asper Jorn
« Questioning children » »
And so can we also notice that she was underage, the Child Protection Care should have to (had obligation to) take measures for her protection, and that it has not been done, as for the other minors leaved in the slum or in the shelters the State put beside, in the center Jules Ferry and in the containers.
That she could have been able (she should have been able) to join legally in the UK. But whatever the effort of the staff of the women and children shelter to make them more human reception conditions, the State did not consider it useful to set a legal support for these persons, and La Vie Active, which manages the place, saw no need to take the initiative.
That she left Steenvoorde camp to try to cross to the UK from the parking nearby. But in this Monday morning July 11 she was in Calais, blocked there by the destruction of Steenvoorde camp. The next night, she tries to cross from Calais, on the motorway.
And she died, hit by a truck which didn’t stop.
And at every step that leads to the death, the responsibility of the French authorities, through abandonment or destruction.