Government ‘putting more lives at risk’ a year after Channel disaster

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The government has been accused of “putting more lives at risk” in the English Channel as the crossing continues a year after at least 27 people drowned, including children and a pregnant woman.

Suella Braverman admitted on Wednesday that ministers had lost control of Britain’s borders, while a top Home Office official said there was no evidence the Rwanda plan would be effective as a deterrent.

A year after a dinghy capsized in the worst disaster of its kind, the charity warned that the government was “driving people into dangerous dinghies with hostile policies that prioritize keeping people out over keeping them safe”. Is”.

Appearing before parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, Ms Braverman offered her “condolences and thoughts” to the loved ones of the victims, but said she had made a “deadly, dangerous journey”.

“This is a tragedy on a massive scale that is unacceptable,” he said. “I am very sorry and saddened that this happened and any loss of life in this incident is very sad.”

Conservative MP Tim Lawton confronted the Home Secretary about the “lack of safe and legal routes” for asylum seekers.

Ms Braverman had trouble answering when she asked what options would be open to a 16-year-old boy fleeing war in Africa and other than a small-boat crossing trying to connect with relatives in the UK.

“If you are able to get to the UK, you will be able to make your application for asylum,” she said.

But when asked how the boy would reach the UK if he did not have the means or documents to fly, the Home Secretary did not respond and instead asked Home Office officials to respond to the panel.

The government was warned three years ago that small-boat crossings were on the rise due to efforts to secure French ferry and lorry ports and a lack of alternatives.

A parliamentary report from November 2019 said, “A policy that focused exclusively on closing borders would encourage migrants to take more dangerous routes and push them into the hands of criminal groups.”

“In the absence of robust and accessible legal routes to seek asylum in the UK, those who claim it are left with little choice but to make the perilous journey by land and sea.”

‘Lack of safe and legal routes’ for migrants, told by Tory MP Suella Braverman

Tory Lee Anderson said the Home Office was “not fit for purpose” and asked the Home Secretary whether she was spending millions a day on hotel places for asylum seekers because her department “failed to control our borders”. Is”.

Ms Braverman replied: “We have failed to control our borders, yes. That’s why the Prime Minister and I are absolutely determined to fix this problem.”

The charity accused ministers of “refusing to accept reality” by attempting to block crossings with the Rwandan plan and new laws, instead of making choices.

Tim Knorr Hilton, chief executive of Refugee Action, said the situation was “putting more lives at risk”, adding: “While leaders waste time with draconian and costly preventive schemes – such as their deportation to Rwanda The deal – the lack of safe routes means more people than ever feel they have no choice but to make the perilous journey across the Channel. It is time for a new approach.”

He called the boat disaster on 24 November 2021 “an avoidable tragedy born of a hostile government policy that prioritizes keeping people out over keeping people safe”.

Vigils will be held for the victims in Folkestone, Dunkirk and Parliament Square on Thursday evening, as relatives are demanding answers about why they were not rescued.

A French inquiry into the disaster revealed that the canoe passengers made several calls for help for more than two hours.

Leaked documents show that when a survivor begging for help told French authorities that people were in the water, they replied: “Yes, but you are in English waters.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman appears before the Commons Home Affairs Committee

A separate inquiry into the UK response by the Marine Accidents Investigation Branch (MAIB) is understood to be in its early stages and has not set a date for releasing its findings.

The relatives of the drowned people say that they have not been traced yet.

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