British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward has said that he plans to visit the affected communities to express his condolences to families of 39 Vietnamese victims found in Essex, the UK last month.
|British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward. Photo: British Embassy in Hanoi|
The ambassador said in a statement tweeted on November 27, the day that 16 bodies of the victims were repatriated home.
He said the first victims have been repatriated by plane from London and are now en route to their home provinces.
“I hope that this can bring some small comfort to their families and loved ones,” he said.
Last week, Gareth Ward met Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An in London to discuss the continuing cooperation to ensure that the victims of the tragedy in Essex can be repatriated home soon.
The first Vietnamese victims came home more than a month after the tragedy happened on October 23. The migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck from Belgium.
Families of the victims have to pay for the repatriation fees which are about EUR1,370 (US$1,509) for ashes and EUR2,208 (US$2,432) for a body. The fees are 50% lower than the actual cost, local media reported.
According to the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, the Vietnamese government paid for the expenses in advance and the families will reimburse the government later.
Gareth Ward affirmed that the UK will continue to boost cooperation between the UK and Vietnam to prevent human trafficking and protect vulnerable people. Human trafficking is an international problem that requires the whole world to work together to solve it.
He said the UK will continue working with Vietnam to investigate the criminal acts that led to the death of the Vietnamese nationals and reinforce the British government’s commitment to preventing anything like the case from happening again.