Campaigners have once again called on the government to create safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to reach Britain after the body of a man has been found on a beach near Calais.
The man who is thought to have been an asylum seeker, was wearing an orange life jacket when he was found on the shores of Sangatte, in northern France. The man had no identity documents on him, it is feared he drowned on the 21 mile crossing of the strait of Dover. In August a further young refugee from Sudan was found dead on the same beach after trying to cross the Channel with another boy in an inflatable dinghy with shovels as oars.
Campaigners are claiming that the unsanitary conditions in Calais and the alleged abuse by French officials often force many refugees to embark on the dangerous journey in search of a better life.
Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais said: “It is desperately sad to hear that another refugee lost his life trying to cross the English Channel. We can only imagine the pain his friends and family must be feeling, and our hearts go out to them. The refugees in Calais form close-knit supportive communities and this death will affect them all”. “Refugees take this risk because they are desperate, frightened and fleeing appalling horrors in some of the most dangerous places on Earth. They do it because of the grim and unsanitary conditions in Calais where they are constantly harassed and abused by the authorities. They do it because there is no safe and legal way to claim UK asylum”
More than 6,100 migrants have arrived in the UK on small boats so far this year, with last month being the record for Channel crossings. Campaigners and opposition politicians have criticised the government for lacking compassion in dealing with the small boat crossings and not making it easier for people to legitimately seek asylum in the UK.
A further 170 migrants in 12 boats have very recently crossed the Channel after days of choppy conditions improved. A further 222 people were stopped from making the dangerous journey by French authorities.
The authorities have confirmed that the body of the man in the life jacket found on the beach near Calais was indeed that of a migrant. Six migrants on two kayaks, tied together, were also rescued by the French Navy, off the coast of Calais.
The number of people reaching the UK by boat has fallen in October amid harsher conditions of the Channel. Approximately 260 people have successfully made the crossing this month, compared to a record 1,951 in September.
Chris Philip, Home Office minister said the government was ‘taking action at every step of these illegally-facilitated journeys to make this route ‘unviable’.
The National Crime Agency recently arrested 12 people suspected of smuggling migrants into the UK, and a 30 year old man was also arrested in Hastings on suspicion of sourcing boats in the UK and transporting them to France where they were allegedly used to cross the Channel.