Government ‘recklessly ignored’ years warnings over Channel boat crossings

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The government has been accused of “recklessly” ignoring years of warnings that its policies would increase the number of asylum seekers who would risk their lives crossing the English Channel.

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Priti Patel was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in 2019 when it found the use of small boats was increasing and the UK’s response “could have the opposite effect of forcing migrants to make desperate travel across the Channel”.

There have been several warnings, including by UN agencies, that reducing safe and legal routes “increases the chances of people turning to traffickers”.


Labor’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the failure to offer refugees alternatives “continues to force more people into the hands of traffickers”.

“As a backbencher in 2019, the current home secretary was a member of the foreign affairs committee who warned the government that the collapse of safe passages would increase the number of people going to sea,” he said. Granthshala,

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“Unfortunately, this has happened and we have seen unprecedented numbers of people who have risked their lives and on Wednesday, we learned about the tragedy of at least 27 people dying in this dangerous journey. Ministers need to act – urgently. ,

The Foreign Affairs Committee report, published in November 2019, said the UK cannot expect France to stop Channel crossings if it does not address the root causes, including the “serious situation” in migrant camps and people from their countries. are running away from.

“A policy that specifically focuses on closing the borders will prompt migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups,” the committee said.

“We are concerned by reports of an increase in the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats. The focus on increasing border security without improving conditions in the region could have the adverse effect of forcing migrants to make desperate travel across the Channel. ,

The Home Secretary was challenged on Thursday over the report’s findings in parliament, where Labor MP Rachel Muskell said punitive proposals in the Nationality and Boundary Bill would continue the trend and “drill people into the hands of smugglers”.

Priti Patel delivers speech to MPs after channel migrant tragedy

Ms Patel replied: “The answer is no, because the Nationality and Boundary Bill creates a safe and legal route.”

The Home Office Impact Assessment for the Law, published in September, said the evidence supporting the effectiveness of the government’s plans was “limited.”

“There is a risk that increased security and detention may encourage these peers to attempt riskier means of entering the UK,” it added.

The Refugee Action charity said that if ministers wanted to beat traffickers and prevent more deaths, they would “create more routes for refugees to reach the UK safely.

Chief Executive Tim Naor Hilton said: “It is reckless that over the years the government has ignored evidence and common sense and hard limits without providing more avenues of protection to refugees.

“The sad consequences are more dangerous boat crossings, smugglers of rich people, and heartbreaking deaths across the Channel this week. Yet the Home Secretary will not listen.”

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants said Ms Patel had the “knowledge needed to prevent dangerous crossings and deadly tragedies at their fingertips”.

“We know and the government knows that spending more on fences and border patrols pushes people into more dangerous journeys and puts more money in people-smugglers’ pockets,” Interim Chief Executive Minnie Rahman said.

“This week should now represent a clear turning point in the government’s approach, where they listen to the evidence, focus on saving lives, and immediately establish more safe routes for people seeking asylum.”


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