Charities concerned about lack of safe Channel crossings

Following the continued increase in migrants crossing the Channel in small boats many Charities have criticised the disgraceful lack of safe alternatives.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary continues to promise to make crossings ‘unviable’ and the government’s nationality and borders bill is to criminalise any migrants who attempt illegal routes into the UK rather than entering via the settlement schemes.  Humanitarian groups have however warned that such measures will not solve this problem.

In response to the latest figure of more than 10,200 chief executive of Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton said: “It is shameful that 10,000 people have had to risk their lives to reach sanctuary here because the government refuses to provide more routes to safety.

“Ministers must stop wasting time and money on outrageous schemes, for example fake websites and Facebook pages to try to deter migrants, and instead concentrate on the cause of Channel crossings.

Despite government claims the UK still continues to have fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of our European counterparts.  According to data from the UN refugee agency at least 50,989 people have arrived, so far this year, in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea, with at least 1,016 thought to have died or are missing.

Asylum applications in Britain fell to 29,456, despite a sharp rise in small boat arrivals.  This is compared to 93,475 applications received in France and 121,955 in Germany.

Director of charity Detention Action, Bella Sankey, said: “Overall asylum applications are dropping and much lower than they were in the 2000’s but the number of Channel crossings shows that desperate people trying to save their lives will risk everything to reach safety”.

“MPs should act swiftly and pass legislation to allow those with strong prospects of receiving protection here safe passage to the UK from northern France to seek asylum here”.

According to Amnesty International UK, people are putting themselves in ‘serious danger’ because they have no safer alternatives.  The UK and French governments are urged to ‘come together to devise a humane way of fulfilling their responsibility toward these people’.

After Priti Patel agreed to pay France £55m, the Home Office recently said that the number of police patrolling French beaches would double for the second time in a year to prevent small boats from departing.

Clandestine Channel threat commander for the Home Office, Dan O’Mahoney, said: “These small boat crossings which are facilitated by criminal gangs, are putting peoples lives at risk”.  He said the numbers were unacceptable and the government’s new plan for immigration was the ‘only credible long-term plan to fix the broken asylum system’.