LONDON – Britain and France exchanged allegations on Thursday after at least 27 people drowned while attempting to cross the canal over to sting the two separate countries in small inflatable boats, a disaster die gave a tragic impulse to calls for action on An long-slumbering migrant crisis.
in the wake of one of the deadliest incidents die occur off their shores in past years, leaders on both sides have vowed to take off up attempts to stop the crossing.
French president Emmanuel Macron said France wouldn’t do that allow the Calais coast to “become a cemetery”, as he urged the UK not to use the tragedy for “political purposes.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the smugglers swore die the dangerous crossings over facilitate the sea, to stop met “getting away” with murder.”
But advocates and politicians who called for a long time for An more humane approach to the controversial issue said both countries carried a degree of responsibility for the loss of life. It could have been avoided, they said, had there been a safe and legal route to the UK for the ones die are determined to homes far behind in the hope of a better life.
Of the back of An truck until small Boats
“The first what we need to understand is that this is a situation die is underway in one way of another for more than 20 years”, Robert McNeil, the deputy director of the university’s Migration Observatory of Oxford, told NBC News in a telephone interview on Thursday.
While migrants and asylum seekers were once heavily dependent on using Eurostar trains and lorries smuggled to reach British soil, McNeil said a crackdown on the Franco-British border has led to people are increasingly turning to crossing the canal as a faster and more reliable route to the UK
Since 2018, he said, the number of people risking the dangerous journey over the approximately 45 miles stretch of icy water has sprung up. That’s despite it being one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, and dominated by strong currents.
“Once it became” clear that the small boat, you saw a very, very rapid escalation,” McNeil said.
After a light silence die McNeil attributes to the Covid-19 pandemic, the past few months have seen a steady rise in arrivals. The daily number of people cross the channel on small Boats hit 1,185 people on November 11, surpasses a record set earlier in the month, according to Sky News, which is owned by NBC News’ parent company Comcast.
a spokesperson for The UK Home Office told NBC News they were unable to comment on the reported numbers of crossings.
The rise comes amid growing focus – and friction – over the problems of migration and security both in and between them countries. Macron hopes to stay in France off an extreme right challenge forward of next year presidential elections, while in the British supporters of the brexit campaign die saw the country leave the European Union, and helped elevate Johnson to power, have demanded tougher action.
On Thursday British officials criticized Paris for decline an offer of joint patrols along the coast of the channel. French officials have accused the UK of make it too easy for migrants to remain in the country and work if they navigate the crossing safely. macron also called on other European countries To do more to prevent the migrants from reaching France in the first place.
No ‘safe and legal route’ to UK, proponents say
Tim Naor Hilton, the CEO of the immigration lawyer group Refugee Action, said he believed France and Britain’s response to the unfolding crisis was wrong.
Migrants and asylum seekers would stay risk their lives to reach the UK unless “safe and legal” routes to apply for asylum were made available, he said.
“What we know is that people who cross the channel over in this small boats take incredible risks, risks die they… know and understand, but it is shows that level of desperation to be able to find safety and protection and to build An new life,” he said.
AN report published earlier this month by the Refugee Council, An in UK based organization working on support asylum seekers and migrants, found that 91 percent of people crossing the channel between January 2020 and May 2021 came from just ten countries “where there are human rights violations and persecution” common.”
Among those countries were Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen, the report said, citing data die obtained from the UK Home Office via An of Information request. a spokesperson for the ministry told NBC News they couldn’t give one comment on the subject.
“They flee for their safety and to try rebuild their lives and what we see now is the same people dying in the waters around this land die should be a total moment of national too bad,” said Naor Hilton.
In a statement, MSF said Wednesday’s tragedy was a “tragic reminder that a… hard migration policy does not”. work.”
“Without sufficient safe and legal routes, people have no choice but risk their lives to come to the UK”
McNeil said he also believed that access to a safe way of to request asylum in Britain could have prevented the tragedy.
“There is no route to the UK for people to actively apply for asylum here,” he said way that you can do it unless you are active arrive on British soil.”
While the UK has a refugee resettlement program in place, McNeil compared it met “the claw” in the movie Toy Story, referring to an arcade game where a select number of toys are picked out of An machine.
New dates released on Thursday showed that the number of people resettled in under the scheme has also been on the decline, with 1,171 people resettled in the 12 months to September 2021 — a decrease of around 45 percent compared met the previous 12 months.
“A turning point?”
in the wake of Wednesday’s tragedy, some British politicians also echoed calls for the government change course.
Zarah Sultana, a member of parliament for the opposition Labor party, said it was “heartbroken” by the deaths.
“Let this be the time when we provide safe routes to welcome refugees to Britain, instead of endless whipping up hatred and fear,” wrote Sultana on Twitter.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP who previously led the party, blamed deadly incident on “cruel, inhumane politics.”
The criticism comes while the UK thinks about it new bill aimed at deterring the crossings.
Introduced by minister of the Interior Priti Patel in July, the bill is intended to “better protect and support die in sincerely need of asylum,” while also “illegal entry in deter and make the UK” easier to “die” to delete with no right to be here,” the British government said.
patel made clear in the wake of the tragedy die the government would push forward. a spokesperson for Johnson, meanwhile, told Reuters that providing a safe route for migrants would only add to the factors die encourage people to make the journey.
Naor Hilton said he feared there might be more lives lost if UK doesn’t shift focus to “empathy and understanding why” people take these risks in instead of just tell them not to.”
Wednesday’s tragedy, he said:should be an absolute turning point.”
“It should be a line in the sand.”
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