London, United Kingdom – The English Channel disaster, in which at least 27 refugees drowned this week in the waters separating France and the United Kingdom, is testing the strained relations between the two countries and adding to the fears of more casualties.
About Wednesday event, the most serious road accident since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Channel began collecting Channel data in 2014, interest completely shifted, and the Paris and London commercial case.
The two countries pledged to increase immigration measures, but on Friday, France left Priti Patel, Britain’s secretary general, at a conference in Paris, outraged by a letter from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to a French president. Emmanuel Macron.
“I wonder if things are not done in depth, we will not communicate with leaders through tweets or printed letters, we are not whistleblowers,” Macron told a news conference in Italy.
The tragedy came at a crucial time; neighbors were already debating issues related to post-Brexit and AUKUS, an alliance between Australia, the UK and the United States that halted France.
Meanwhile, refugee advocacy groups are calling for safer ways to avoid further threats.
A pregnant woman and a young girl were among those who drowned Wednesday in a very cold and dark place.
Thirty-four people are believed to have been in the sinking ship. Two survivors are in the intensive care unit, and one is missing. Police have arrested five people suspected of being involved in the crash.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the boat was “very weak” compared to “[paddling] the pool you blew up in your garden. “
A path full of dangers
The English Channel, also known as Dover Strait, is the busiest waterway in the world.
This route is important for ships looking to cross and enter European ports and those looking to enter the North Baltic Sea via the English Channel.
Marine Insight, a corporate publication, reports that Dover Strait sees over 400 ships a day.
Refugees tried to cross the Channel from Calais or Dunkirk by hiding in cars, but this often happened because of the amount of checks.
Boating is the fastest way to reach the English border from France and it is well known, but it is dangerous.
The IOM reports that at least 200 people have been killed on the road this year.
The UK estimates that more than 25,000 undocumented migrants have arrived this year, three times as many as last year.
The British Refugee Council said Wednesday’s incident was “absolutely certain” but could be avoided.
“The only way to save lives on these dangerous roads is to stop people from believing that these trips are the only way to secure security in the UK. If the government really wants to ban smugglers, for example, we must create safer ways and get rid of their businesses,” he said.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants told Al Jazeera that since the outbreak, the limited security options available to asylum seekers have been closed, leaving people without access to the UK safely.
“The government has repeatedly prioritized cruel, ineffective and dangerous practices such as the push in the Channel, which could only lead to more deaths,” the spokesman said.
“The tragedy should represent a change that is more important to saving lives than to evicting people – this means establishing safer measures immediately.”
‘No one is forbidden’: Critics
In a London vigil Thursday evening outside the Home Office, people remembered the 27 people who died.
Some spoke of the plight of the refugees and migrants, while others spoke of the death of the sea and of the sea. Essex event of 2019, which was disrupted by 39 Vietnamese people trying to enter the UK via a refrigerator truck.
But as people chanted “no one is banned” and “no borders, no states”, many refugees are said to have left the ports of Calais and Dunkirk on a boat Thursday night, hoping to find a better life.
The grassroots Channel Rescue, which was set up following strict UK border regulations and assisting cross-border officials, told Al Jazeera:
“Negotiations that want to fight on our borders will create problems … Increasing security at our borders is not a permanent policy, and there needs to be more investment in new security measures for people to enjoy security.”
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