Government rejects pleas for safe routes to UK for refugees following dinghy disaster

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Boris Johnson has turned his back on Britain’s pleas to provide a safe passage for refugees to reach Britain from continental Europe, following the tragic death of 27 people attempting to cross the English Channel by an inflatable dinghy.

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Campaigners accused the government of “colluding with people-smugglers” by relying on security measures that force migrants on more dangerous routes to reach the UK.

And a Tory colleague and former senior foreign office adviser has dubbed the UK’s approach to the small boats crisis “shameful”, saying migrants are “nameless zombies” rather than “people like you and me”. was believed.


French officials said Wednesday’s disaster killed 17 men, seven women and three children – mostly Kurds from Iran and Iraq – after rescuers were told their vulnerable craft hit a container ship. One of the women who died was pregnant.

Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons that her efforts to stem the increasing influx of people crossing the Channel in small boats “in terms of rigor … I have not ruled out anything”, which is now due in 2021. 25,776 till date. Three times last year’s level and more than ten times the 1,835 recorded in 2019.

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Ms Patel confirmed that she has authorized Border Force officials to use “push back” tactics to steer the boats back to France, and the processing of asylum applications despite their failure to find a third country. continued to explore the idea of ​​”offshoring”. Willing to keep refugees outside the UK.

In a phone call with French Interior Minister Gerald Darminin, she offered to use plainclothes UK police or border officials to launch boats overcrowded by people-smugglers to take part in joint patrols around beaches .

Operating without a warrant, the officers would be able to assist in surveillance and tracking, but would have no power to arrest, so that uniformed British agents on French soil could meet Paris’ objections to sovereignty.

Ms Patel, who will travel to France on Sunday for an emergency summit of European nations convened by Emmanuel Macron, talked about automatic number plate recognition, radar and sensors used to install on remote roads and evade smugglers. Offered assistance with technology including dirt tracks. As they explore, they transport their human cargo to the shore.

Mr Johnson wrote to the French president with a five-point package that included joint patrols on French beaches, more advanced technology, mutual maritime and air surveillance, intelligence-sharing and a bilateral return agreement.

“If those arriving in this country are turned back swiftly, the incentive for people to hand over their lives to traffickers will be greatly reduced,” Johnson said. “It will be the single biggest step we can take together to reduce the draw in northern France and break the business model of criminal gangs.”

Mr Macron has warned the prime minister not to “exploit a sad situation to political ends” after Mr Johnson complained in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s horrors that France did not do enough to crack down on those gangs. who were “getting away from murder”.

But the president later said he was seeking “additional assistance” from the UK and hoped to “better integrate” cross-channel operations against smuggling networks.

A senior UK source told Granthshala The tragedy appears to have sparked an acceptance in Paris that a change of strategy is needed. British officials and law enforcement were traveling to France on Thursday evening to meet their counterparts.

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