Critics Attribute Refugee Drownings in the Channel to Racist Border Policies

Credits: The Guardian

Last week, at least four individuals tragically drowned in the Channel as refugees attempted to reach Britain, underscoring the devastating impact of border policies implemented by both Britain and France. The relentless pursuit to “stop the boats” at any cost by politicians has resulted in these heartbreaking deaths.

On Wednesday, three migrants drowned after their boat sank off the coast of Calais. In another tragic incident, early last Sunday, a seven-year-old girl drowned when a boat capsized on a canal near the Channel entrance.

The boat was carrying ten other children, the girl’s pregnant mother, father, and three siblings, all of whom ended up in the icy water after the boat sank. Thankfully, a passerby noticed their distress and alerted the authorities, preventing further loss of life.

Refugee Drownings (Credits: The Independent)

The increased surveillance by French police and border officers, at the insistence of the British government, has forced migrants to seek even more perilous routes, including inland canals. Such crackdowns only push desperate people to take longer, riskier paths in search of safety.

For example, when thermal imaging checks were introduced on lorries to prevent entry, refugees resorted to hiding in refrigerated lorries, leading to deaths due to freezing or suffocation.

A recent report by the NGO Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime warned that the UK and France’s efforts to deter migration are likely to strengthen rather than weaken the grip of ruthless criminal networks. Despite the regular occurrence of deaths in the Channel, media coverage is sparse, and the government’s response remains minimal.

In January, five people, including a 14-year-old Syrian boy, died while attempting to board a boat south of Calais. Stand Up To Racism has called for unity in advocating for safe passage for those seeking refuge in Britain and in affirming that refugees are welcome.

The group is organizing demonstrations in London, Glasgow, and Cardiff to oppose the government’s divisive and xenophobic agenda and to stand against all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and antisemitism.

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