Migrant Tragedy in English Channel Following UK’s Rwanda Policy Approval

Five migrants, including a child, lost their lives in an attempt to cross the English Channel from France to Britain in an overcrowded small boat on Tuesday. This tragedy occurred shortly after Britain passed legislation to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, aiming to dissuade such perilous journeys. The fatal incident unfolded as a boat carrying 112 people embarked on the crossing, leading to panic among passengers not far from the shore.

Rescuers managed to save 49 individuals, with four requiring hospital treatment, while the French coast guard continued searching for survivors. According to local prefect Jacques Billant, the victims included a seven-year-old girl, a woman, and three men, who tragically perished when the boat’s engine failed near the coast, causing some passengers to fall into the water.

Despite rescue efforts, 58 people opted to remain on board, determined to reach Britain. Departing from Wimereux, approximately 32 km southwest of Calais, the boat was just one among thousands of similar crossings attempted this year, as migrants risk their lives on makeshift vessels to reach British shores.

In response to the escalating crisis, Britain passed legislation allowing the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the move as a compassionate effort to prevent exploitation by human smugglers, although critics argue it lacks humanity. The first deportation flights are expected to commence in the coming weeks, pending legal challenges.

The mayor of Wimereux pointed fingers at Britain for its role in the situation, emphasizing the allure of employment opportunities in the country. Despite previous legal setbacks, the British government remains determined to implement its deportation scheme, despite skepticism from rights groups and activists who assert that deterrence policies are ineffective in addressing the root causes of migration.

About Geraldine Boechat 2707 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia