Thursday, November 25, 2021

Deadliest Channel Refugee Tragedy Raises Alarm in France, UK - Tasnim News Agency

(Tasnim) – Britain and France are looking at new measures to limit migration across the English Channel and break people-smuggling networks after at least 27 refugees and migrants – including three children and a pregnant woman – drowned off the northern French coast.

Wednesday’s disaster, the deadliest accident on the route since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Channel began collecting Channel data in 2014, has raised humanitarian concerns.

A protest under the banner “No More Channel Deaths” will take place in London later on Thursday outside the United Kingdom’s Home Office.

President Emmanuel Macron promised France would not allow the Channel to become a “cemetery” and spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree on stepping up efforts to thwart the traffickers blamed for the surge in crossings.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold a crisis meeting on Thursday with ministers to discuss new measures, his office said, Al Jazeera reported.

Seventeen men, seven women and three children died when the inflatable boat lost air and took on water off the northern port of Calais on Wednesday, according to public prosecutors in Lille. A manslaughter probe has been opened.

The IOM says about 200 refugees and migrants have died while making the perilous journey so far this year.

The disaster poses a new challenge to cooperation between France and Britain after Brexit. Initial statements from both sides pinning responsibility on the other party to act indicated the tragedy will not be an automatic catalyst for cooperation. In September, the UK threatened to send migrant boats back to France.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a total of five suspected traffickers accused of being directly linked to the doomed crossing had been arrested, the fifth man suspected of buying inflatable boats.

Darmanin said two survivors recovering from hypothermia, an Iraqi and Somali, had been found and would eventually be questioned.

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart said a pregnant woman was among the victims.

1 comment :

  1. More people have made the perilous journey across the English Channel, a day after 27 people drowned in the deadliest crossing on record.

    A group wearing life jackets were seen huddled together onboard a lifeboat near Dover on Thursday morning.

    Those who drowned on Wednesday included 17 men, seven women - one of whom was pregnant - and three children, France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin said.

    Five people have been arrested in connection with the fatal crossing.

    Mr Darmanin said regional prosecutors had launched an investigation into aggravated manslaughter.

    He said two survivors were in a critical condition in a French hospital, where they are being treated for severe hypothermia. One is Iraqi and the other Somalian, he told RTL radio.

    It was earlier reported 31 people had died, but the total was revised down overnight into Thursday.

    The alarm was raised on Wednesday after a fishing boat crew spotted several people in the sea off the coast of France.


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