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Liverpool Artwork Listing Names of Refugees and Migrants Who Died Is Destroyed


Why Global Citizens Should Care 
A lot of what we hear about the refugee crisis comes to us in the form of statistic and numbers — without recognising that it’s impacting real people every day. That’s why the List is so important: It documents the people behind the numbers. The UN’s Global Goals cannot be achieved without taking into account the rights and needs of refugees, internally displaced people, and stateless people. You can join us by standing up for their rights here

Since 1993, 34,361 refugees and migrants have died while trying to reach Europe. 

A list of the names of those who have died has been on display in Liverpool’s Chinatown since the middle of July, as part of the Liverpool Biennial art festival.

But the artwork, described as “deeply distressing” by one viewer, has now reportedly been torn down — causing confusion about how or why it was removed. 

Take action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People — No Matter Where They Were Born

Known as the List, the names are updated each year by the United for Intercultural Action, a network of more than 560 organisations in 48 countries across Europe, according to the Liverpool Echo.

It’s inclusion in the Biennial — the UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art — is a collaboration between artist Banu Cennetoğlu and United for Intercultural Action. 

Through the festival, held every two years, international artists present work in galleries, museums, and public spaces across Liverpool, as well as online.

The List was displayed on a temporary wall outside a building site on Great George Street, with the permission of the site owners. But between Saturday and Sunday, it vanished, according to the Biennial.  

While it was suggested that it could have been removed by accident, after being mistaken for illegal flyposting, a spokesperson for Liverpool city council told the Guardian they were “100% sure” it hadn’t been removed by any local authority employees. 

The council is checking CCTV footage to try to identify a culprit — but the Liverpool Biennial tweeted on Thursday that it didn’t yet have an explanation.

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“It is timely and important to make the List public during a global refugee crisis,” said the Liverpool Biennial in a statement. “We were dismayed to see it had been removed on Saturday night and would like to know why.”

“The List has been met with critical acclaim and we are doing everything we can to reinstate it,” it added. 

While the List dates back to 1993, it is still growing at an alarming rate. 

Last month, more than 200 people drowned in the Mediterranean in just one weekend — while four different NGO search and rescue ships were forcibly docked in European ports because of legal restrictions. 

The shipwrecks brought the total number of people who have died this year to over 1,000, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), meaning this is now the fourth year in a row that more than 1,000 people have died trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.