Death in the Channel: an avoidable tragedy?
It was the worst accident between refugees trying to reach Britain by boat, stated Adam Sage in The Times. Last Tuesday morning, Rasoul Iran-Nejad a 35-year-old Iranian Kurd, his 35-year-old spouse Shiva Mohammad-Panahi, and their three kids, aged nine,six and 15 months, were among seven individuals to drown when their boat capsized from the Channel. The family had been on a small vessel packed with migrants when it turned in choppy seas off Dunkirk. Fifteen of these on board were rescued, but the family were trapped in the boat’s cabin, and were unable to escape. The episode takes the amount of people to have died attempting the crossing this season to at least seven, up from four last year, while the total amount of people to have made the voyage across the Channel stands in 7,400 — nearly four times the 2019 ?gure.
“The deaths didn’t come as a surprise,” said Lizzie Dearden in The Independent. Underneath Home Secretary Priti Patel, a system is in place which”only allows migrants to apply for protection once on UK soil, but erects ever-higher barriers to reaching it”. It isn’t too late for ministers to change course and allow applications from overseas, ” The Guardian. Rather than”aggressive posturing”, the Government could decide to embrace a more”rational policy based on global collaboration, respect for the law and human rights”. But”don’t hold your breath”. It is true that Britain could choose to process asylum claims in France instead, ” The Times. This could discourage those seeking asylum for legitimate reasons from attempting the ship. Nevertheless, illegal migrants are most likely to keep coming because they understand that Britain has”a very poor record of repatriating failed asylum seekers”. Short of reforming the entire system, the best short-term solution would be to agree that a post-Brexit financing deal with France to guarantee better policing of the French coastline. Of course, that would not come cheap — but it might just be the price we have to pay to”secure Britain’s borders and avoid further tragedies”.