5 Ways To Help Prevent Further Tragedy In The English Channel

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A group of people believed to be migrants are brought to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel that sank 27 people on Wednesday
Gareth Fuller – PA Images via Getty Images
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Tragedy struck the English Channel on Wednesday night when 27 people drowned trying to get to Britain – prompting both Britain and France to re-evaluate their approach to the refugee crisis.

Home Secretary Priti Patel on Thursday defended Britain’s efforts to prevent people from crossing the dangerous channel and said there is “no quick solution”.

He had already promised to help French officers strengthen their border patrols and has now offered to send British officers to join their French counterparts on the French border.

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But, since Wednesday’s catastrophe was the deadliest day on record for the Channel crossing, should France and the UK adopt an entirely new strategy?

Here’s what the experts think.

1. Open the Safe Way

Campaigners believe that many are driven to take the dangerous route – the English Channel – escorted by smuggling gangs – because there is no other option.

Guns Culcan, head of operations for Safe Passage International, told Guardian: “We are calling on the government to repeal the cruel and impractical Nationality and Border Bill and instead open safe avenues to save lives.

“Safe Routes better protect refugees, reunite families and support people to rebuild their lives as welcomed by our communities.”

This may involve using ferries or planes to fly people across the channel instead of vulnerable dinghies, which can easily overturn or sink.

Louis Calvey, head of resettlement for Refugee Action, also said last year’s “increasing militarization” of the Channel would be unlikely to deter people anyway, as they would be pushed to more dangerous means of transportation.

2. Secure Access to Asylum Processes in France and the UK

Currently, those who await a hearing on their asylum petition – or those who have it rejected – are placed in detention centres. There are currently six in the UK, but the UNHCR has said that detention centers should be countries of last resort.

There are concerns that Patel’s upcoming Nationality and Borders Bill will only make it more difficult for people in Britain to seek asylum.

Amnesty International’s Steve Valdez-Symonds said Guardian: “Ministers should work constructively with the French authorities to provide safe access to asylum procedures on both sides of the Channel.”

3. Bring Back Rehabilitation Plans

People provided protection through resettlement schemes in the UK
People provided protection through resettlement schemes in the UK
PA GraphicsPress Association Images

The number of people being provided protection through UK resettlement schemes has dropped drastically since 2017.

John Fattenby, refugee and asylum policy manager for the British Red Cross, last October called for a “resumption of the resettlement program and the protection of existing reintegration routes” while speaking to the Financial Times.

Yet, as Home Office figures show, the UK has helped only 1,171 refugees since the first COVID lockdown in March 2020, excluding the number of Afghanistan evacuees helped by the UK.

4. Resume Humanitarian Aid

Most of the people seeking asylum in Britain come from war-torn areas.

According to refugee council, 91% of people arriving in the UK have come from countries where human rights are violated.

Britain can help the refugee crisis by tackling the source of the crisis, but, according to Amnesty International, “Rich countries are not fully fulfilling their high-profile promises of aid for refugees abroad”.

The UK announced a cut in humanitarian aid in 2021 from 0.7% of gross national income to just 0.5%.

The government says this is a temporary decision, but it will not be adjusted again until 2024 or 2025.

It may not sound like much, but the cut has had a big impact.

The United Nations Family Planning Agency lost 85% of its UK funding for family planning – the equivalent of around £130 million a year – while the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) diverted its funding from the UK. Lost about 60%.

UNAIDS has also lost 80% of its funding from the UK.

It will affect some of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, including Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, meaning people in those countries are more likely to leave.

Refugees trying to enter Europe at the Poland-Belarus border
Refugees trying to enter Europe at the Poland-Belarus border
Sergei Boblev via Getty Images

5. Work closely with regional countries

Britain and France have reportedly agreed that they need to work with countries across Europe to help prevent a tragedy in the English Channel, preventing people from accessing French waters in the first place. .

Anthropology lecturer Gerhard Hofstadter from the University of Queensland and Sarah Riva from Griffith University wrote for The Conversation about how agreements with neighboring countries would help the refugee crisis.

He claimed: “A regional refugee agreement would shift the focus away from border security and detention and instead ensure that refugees have the protection they need in transit and upon arrival in host countries.”

Britain already receives only a third of asylum applications that France receives and 1% of the four million refugees who come to Turkey.

Working with neighboring countries has meant that when it comes to managing large groups of people looking for somewhere to live, rather than shifting the blame since Wednesday’s tragedy in Britain and France, their It may be a joint effort.


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