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Tragedy leads to calls for safe passage to UK for migrants

This news post is 12 months old

Another tragedy leads calls to act

Charities are calling for legal routes for refugees to reach the UK after four migrants died off the French coast.   

Care4Calais said the "loss of life should be a wake-up call for those in power in France and the UK".

The four people, including two children aged five and eight, died attempting to reach Britain by boat across the Channel

The charity said creating a new system which would allow asylum seekers to apply for refuge in the UK from outside its borders would "put an end to terrifying, dangerous sea crossings and stop tragedy striking again."

Save The Children called for a "joint plan" from London and Paris to ensure the safety of vulnerable families, adding: "The English Channel must not become a graveyard for children."

The UK government has vowed to make the crossings "unviable."

The UN Refugee Agency said in August it was troubled by the plans adding that the numbers making the crossing "remain low and manageable".

More than 7,400 migrants have reached the UK in small boats this year, up from 1,825 in 2019.

Ellen Ackroyd, a field manager for the aid organisation Help Refugees/Choose Love, based in Calais, said: “In Calais, these people face daily violent evictions from their makeshift shelters and there is a total lack of information about their legal rights.

“At the same time, people seeking protection in the UK can only do so once on UK soil yet no safe and legal routes are made available for this purpose.

“So long as the hostile and exclusionary treatment of people seeking protection continues, people will continue to attempt these dangerous journeys, which no one should ever have to undertake.”

Beth Gardiner-Smith, the chief executive of Safe Passage, one of a number of humanitarian groups that have long called for safe and legal routes for asylum seekers, said: “Nobody should have to risk their life to reach safety and today’s tragic news is the direct consequence of a lack of safe alternatives for those seeking sanctuary.

“Just this year, the government closed the Dubs route designed to give children safe passage to the UK. And now the only legal route left available to children – family reunion – will end in less than 10 weeks’ time unless the government acts now.

“Rather than speculating about ever more inhumane ways to push back and prevent refugees seeking asylum, the government should act now to protect family reunion and expand safe and legal routes for refugees.”

Mariam Kemple Hardy, the head of campaigns at Refugee Action, said: “No one wants to see people make dangerous crossings but the government’s hostile rhetoric does nothing to help. It must stop trying to look tough and urgently create more safe and legal routes for people to seek sanctuary in the UK.”



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