Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned people smugglers are “getting away with murder” as he urged the government to do more on its border.
Criminal gangs are ‘getting away with murder,’ according to Boris Johnson. (Photo courtesy of PA)
After 27 people died attempting to cross the Channel near Calais, Boris Johnson asked France to’step up’ and do more to halt migrants.
Five women and a little child were among the casualties when their flimsy boat sank in the Pas-de-Calais soon after leaving France yesterday afternoon, described to a “pool you blow up in your backyard.” One of the ladies who died was subsequently discovered to be pregnant.
Officials in France had initially said that 31 people had died, but the death toll was then lowered down, with no explanation given for the disparity. Since the current immigration crisis started, it has been the biggest catastrophe of its type.
Last night, the Prime Minister pushed France to take more measures to prevent the tide of migrants across the Channel, including agreeing to combined police patrols around the French coast.
‘This incident emphasizes how perilous it is to cross the Channel in this manner, and it also illustrates how crucial it is that we immediately step up our efforts to undermine the economic model of the criminals who are sending people to sea in this way,’ he said after chairing a Cobra meeting.
‘The operation being carried out by our allies on the beaches, sponsored as you know by £54 million by the UK, and the technological assistance we’ve been providing, hasn’t been enough,’ he continued.
‘Our offer is to extend our assistance, as well as to collaborate with our partners on the beaches where these boats are launched.’
‘I hope that, in light of what has transpired, that will be acceptable, since there is no question that the gangs involved will continue to mislead people, put people’s lives in danger, and get away with murder.’
Boris Johnson has asked France to take further measures to halt the influx of migrants crossing the English Channel (Picture: PA)
He also talked with Emmanuel Macron, the French President (Picture: Reuters)
At a beach near Dungeness yesterday, migrants were brought ashore by an RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat (Picture: AFP via Getty)
In the Port of Calais, a guy pushes a gurney inside a warehouse (Picture: PA)
On Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson talked with President Emmanuel Macron.
On their attempts to break up the human trafficking gangs responsible for putting desperate individuals at danger in one of the world’s busiest water passages, Downing Street claimed they had decided to ‘keep all options on the table.’
Mr Johnson has reaffirmed a prior promise to deploy UK police and Border Force personnel to launch joint patrols with the French, according to Immigration Compliance Minister Tom Pursglove.
The goal is to prevent migrant boats from making the risky journey, but the French have historically objected due to worries about national sovereignty.
However, Mr Pursglove said that the most recent event demonstrated that the two nations’ cooperation in dealing with the problem needed to be strengthened.
‘The Prime Minister and President Macron have had precisely that talk this evening,’ he BBC 2’s Newsnight. That is something I am extremely interested in seeing happen.
‘It is true that we have volunteered to host and assist with joint patrols in the past. That, I believe, might be quite useful in addressing this problem. I really hope the French rethink their offer.’
On both sides of the Channel, shock and dismay greeted what was commonly termed as a “tragedy.”
Calais Hospital Center receives an emergency vehicle. (Photo courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency)
A boat from the Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM), a French volunteer maritime rescue organization, is transporting corpses of migrants (Picture: AFP via Getty)
After a fishing boat observed persons in the water off the coast of France, the French and British police started a combined search and rescue effort, which was ultimately called off late on Wednesday.
Five ladies and a child were among the deceased, according to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, while two survivors were picked up and are being treated in a French hospital.
Mr Darmanin compared the sinking boat to a ‘pool you blow up in your lawn,’ saying it was quite fragile.
In connection with the event, French officials detained four suspected people traffickers, and the regional prosecutor initiated an inquiry into aggravated manslaughter.
The head of the Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer in Calais, a French volunteer rescue organization, stated this morning that more cross-Channel human trafficking may be anticipated.
‘It’s really upsetting to witness victims like today, and it’s not over since we’re enjoying an extraordinarily tranquil month of November,’ Bernard Baron told FrancInfo radio. It’s generally a stormy month in November.’
Smugglers are expected to continue trafficking in the coming weeks, according to him.
More crossings are anticipated, according to the head of the French volunteer rescue organization Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer in Calais (Picture: PA)
Mr Johnson also said that the government will work to ‘accelerate’ the Nationality and Borders Bill’s provisions (Picture: PA)
Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, said the British were to fault for the situation and urged Mr Johnson to “stand up to his obligations.”
‘The British Government is to blame,’ she is cited in French media as saying. Boris Johnson, I think, has cynically decided to blame France for the last year and a half.’
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said that the Government will aim to ‘accelerate’ provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill that would allow police to ‘identify between individuals who come here legitimately and those who come here illegally.’
The event, according to Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, should cause the government to reconsider its stance.
‘Surely, a tragedy of this proportions is the wake-up call our Government needs to modify its strategy and finally commit to expanding safe pathways for those men, women, and children in dire need of protection,’ he added.
See also: France
The episode, according to Maya Konforti, secretary general of the French humanitarian organization l’Auberge des Migrants, was a “catastrophe.”
‘We were confident this will happen one day, but up ‘to now…,’ she told French television station BFMTV. When there have been fatalities in the past, they have been one or two at a time, but this is a disaster.’
The NGO was attempting to identify the dead, contact the relatives, plan funerals, and return the bodies, she added.
Ms Konforti went on to say that although the British government and the French interior minister blame smugglers, “the presence of smugglers is in reaction to a need; a need because there is no legal route to get to Britain and seek asylum.”
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