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Bereaved relatives write to Rishi Sunak on anniversary of Channel drowning | Refugees


Sixteen bereaved family of 31 refugees who drowned within the Channel have written to Rishi Sunak on the primary anniversary of their family members’ deaths, urging him to make modifications to stop future tragedies.

On 24 November 2021, 31 individuals slowly froze to dying within the Channel. That they had repeatedly made SOS calls to French and UK emergency companies however no assist was despatched to them. Of these on board the overcrowded dinghy 27 our bodies had been recovered. 4 are nonetheless lacking.

Solely two individuals survived within the incident, the worst maritime catastrophe within the Channel for 30 years. Among the many lifeless had been 21 males, seven girls, together with one who was pregnant, and three adolescents.

Their flimsy boat left France at about 10pm on 23 November 2021. Round midnight it started to deflate and sink in the course of the Channel. When repeated calls had been made by the passengers to French and UK emergency companies the French advised them they had been in British waters whereas the British advised them they had been in French waters.

It was not till 11 hours later – at 2pm the subsequent day – {that a} French fisher noticed the our bodies within the water and raised the alarm.

Within the letter from the bereaved family to the prime minister – co-signed by Care4Calais, Channel Rescue, and Safe Passage, together with a number of commerce unions, MPs, together with Bell Ribeiro-Addy, and the author Michael Rosen – the households demand justice for his or her misplaced family members.

The letter states: “We demand solutions to why French and British authorities failed determined individuals who got here asking for assist. We demand an finish to the toxic rhetoric utilized by our flesh pressers – calling harmless refugees ‘unlawful migrants’ or, worse, ‘an invasion’ – which breeds worry and division. We name for secure passage to permit these refugees to assert asylum in Britain with out risking their lives within the Channel.”

An ITV documentary obtained French coastguard logs from the time of the drowning, which revealed that UK and French emergency companies handed the buck concerning the rescue pleas.

The French newspaper Le Monde obtained a leaked report from the Cherbourg Maritime Gendarmerie investigations unit that recognized failings of the French emergency companies, which the newspaper reviews might warrant legal expenses for “non-assistance of individuals at risk”.

A second letter, revealed in Le Monde right now and co-signed by NGOs on each side of the Channel, together with Amnesty Worldwide UK and France, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and the French Pink Cross (Croix Rouge), paperwork the shortage of progress in offering secure passage for refugees crossing the Channel for the reason that mass drowning occurred a 12 months in the past. It requires the present strategy to get replaced with a humanitarian coverage for refugees crossing the Channel.

On 28 November 2021 4 European dwelling secretaries and inside ministers held an emergency assembly in Calais to debate “the struggle towards unlawful migration and gangs of individuals smugglers”.

Since then, 7,000 individuals have been rescued at sea, in response to the French maritime authorities, the vast majority of whom had been deserted on the French coast, drenched and traumatised.

The brand new France-UK deal, signed on 14 November, endorses this security-focused logic, in response to the signatories of the letter.

“The world right now has seemed away from the shipwreck, leaving the state of affairs to endlessly stick with it. All crucial means should be put into place to open secure routes for passage for individuals who need them,” the letter states.


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