'Racist' UK policies behind deaths of 77 asylum seekers, migrants: IRR

London, Oct 18 (ANI): Racist asylum and immigration policies in the UK have led to the deaths of 77 asylum seekers and migrants over the past four years, according to a report for the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

According to The Guardian, the IRR has said that the 77 deaths, most of which happened in the UK, were a consequence of "direct racism or indirect racism stemming from" asylum and immigration policies.

Over a third (28) of the deaths reported by the IRR are people suspected or known to have committed suicide after their asylum claims had been turned down. Seven people have reportedly died after being denied health care for "preventable medical problems", another seven died in prison custody, and 15 are said to have died during desperate and "highly risky" attempts to enter the country.

Among the seven that the IRR claims died in prison custody, includes an 18-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker who was found hanged in his cell on Christmas Day 2007, after being wrongly told he was to be deported, and a 33-year-old Ukrainian national who died in a cell at Rye Hill, Warwickshire in June 2006.

The Ukrainian national, who feared he would be killed by the Russian mafia if sent home, repeatedly harmed himself in protest against his pending deportation after serving a seven-year sentence for burglary, the report 'Driven to Desperate Measures' claimed.

The report also claimed that the number of deaths of asylum seekers in the community has increased and now averages one a month.

The 77 deaths include seven who died on the streets in attacks "at the hands of racists", four being deported back to their countries where they feared for their safety, two as a result of becoming "destitute and unable to access services", and four as a result of often dangerous work in the "black economy", the report added. (ANI)

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