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Refugee council urges UK to change approach on migrants after 27 people drowned in English Channel

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Europe | November 25, 2021 5:47:57 PM IST
London [UK], November 25 (ANI/Sputnik): The Refugee Council campaign group urged the UK government on Thursday to change its approach and provide safe routes for migrants after at least 27 people drowned in the English Channel while trying to reach the UK from France on a rubber boat.

"Surely a tragedy of this magnitude is the wakeup call, our Government needs to change its approach and finally commit to an expansion of safe routes for those men, women and children in desperate need of protection," Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said in a statement sent to Sputnik.

On Wednesday, a boat with migrants sunk in the Strait of Dover. France had initially reported 31 deaths, but the number was later revised down to 27, including five women and a young girl.

"This is a humanitarian disaster that should never have happened. It's incomprehensible that so many lives have been lost by people on a desperate and harrowing journey to Britain who were just trying to find safety," Solomon added.

The Refugee Council director said the UK government must put an end to the "cruel and dangerous tactic of seeking to punish or push away" asylum seekers and instead adopt fairer, more compassionate and effective solutions to the crisis.

The UK and French governments have been trading accusations following yesterday's tragedy in the English Channel, despite UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron's agreement over the phone on Wednesday evening to prevent migrants from making the perilous journey.

Interviewed by Sky News, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Home Affairs and current member of the House of Lords Kate Hoey said that "France has to take great responsibility" for allowing the migrants onto the boat.

The Labour lawmaker also said that people in the UK who are speaking for the refugees "need to be more serious" about who and where they are putting responsibility.

More than 25,600 people -- a figure that is more than triple the total for last year as a whole -- have illegally crossed from France to the UK in 2021, according to official figures. (ANI/Sputnik)

 
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