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The Munch Channel is becoming the Second “Open Cemetery” for Refugees

Like in the Mediterranean Sea, in transit from Libya to Italy, where thousands of migrants die, and where the Mediterranean Sea swallows the bodies of migrants fleeing the miserable hell of life in their own countries to the hope of fulfilling their dreams in a free country, their lives end without mercy. 

Along the same lines, is the case in the Munch Channel, which is becoming an “open cemetery,” where at least 27 migrants died, 2 days ago, after their boat sank off Calais from where they set off in northern France, as they tried to cross the British coast, in an unprecedented humanitarian disaster.

According to the French authorities, those who died included a child and five women, one of them was pregnant. The nationality of the victims has not yet been made public. The French authorities arrested four smugglers suspected of being “directly linked” to the drowning of the boat that killed the migrants in the Munch Chanel. The arrests followed an international whirlwind sparked by that tragedy, which led France to call for neighboring states to increase cooperation in dealing with human trafficking and smuggling.

Prior to this accident, the death toll since the beginning of this year was three dead and four missing, and in 2020 six people died and three more were lost, compared to four who dead in 2019.

According to London authorities, 22,000 migrants managed to cross in the first 10 months of this year. This phenomenon is attributed to the mafia behind these corridors, which throws migrants into the water because they are a well-paid business. London and Paris agreed to strengthen their cooperation to try stopping these crossings after rising tensions following the arrival of 1185 migrants on the English coast in November this year, which is a significant number.

Last October, the Belgian authorities reportedly rescued 24 migrants on their way to the British coasts on a small boat, some 40 kilometers off the country’s coast, four of whom were taken to hospital. Smugglers who organize these trips in precarious conditions operate from the French coast, around Calais and Dunkirk, as well as from the Belgian coast. A member of this gang was arrested by Belgian police last week.

“Le Parisian” newspaper noted that at least 50 trips have been leaving the port as a daily mechanism for months by smugglers who promise migrants to cross the sea and reach Britain illegally. The newspaper said that this scenario, which was predicted by humanitarian organizations, is the results of the various policies pursued by the French and British governments over the past 15 years, and it has not succeeded in preventing the flow of migrants to the north.

The harsh European policies in dealing with refugees

The newspaper” Le Figaro” criticized the quarries planted on European borders in order to prevent the flow of migrants. It felt that the debate over the European strategy to prevent the arrival of migrants in its territory was interspersed by some kind of tension between the governments of the Union States. The Minister of State for European Affairs, Claimant Boone, said that he was against Europe with barbed wire or covering itself with walls, his statement followed Poland’s decision to build a wall on the Belarusian border.

Humanitarian groups working with migrants in the region blamed European Governments and their (increasingly) hard-line immigration policies. As the victims of the tragedy arrived, activists demonstrated outside the port of Calais Wednesday night, accusing the government of not doing enough to respond to the needs of migrants. On the other hand, non-governmental associations assisting migrants in Calais considered that it was British policy that did not want to accept asylum claims that motivated migrants to take illegal routes to the British bank of the Munch Sea.

Refugees living in difficult conditions in a military base in Wales

It is well known that hundreds of people live in tragic and precarious living conditions along the French coast (north), where, in addition to inadequate infrastructure and adequate accommodation, they suffer from regular police patrols and semi-daily evacuations. In its report,  Al Jazeera TV addressed the difficult conditions in which migrants live within the Kingdom. The military base in Wales receives hundreds of refugees. This has become the subject of a political and media debate, which talks about the accumulation of asylum-seekers in tight rooms with an impossibility of applying social separation procedures where six people are living in the same room.

In addition, The Guardian also revealed that the British Government is looking to remove asylum-seekers to other African countries and place them in shelters there until their asylum claims are decided, drawing inspiration from the Australian model, which is considered a global law critic.

Human life, rights and dignity have to be at the top priorities of states

With much anger, representatives of humanitarian organizations dealing with refugees, talk about what the government is thinking about doing to this vulnerable group, considering that all these government projects show “cruelty and lack of humanity in dealing with refugees.”

A representative of rights organizations, Claire Mosley, said in a statement to Island Net  “These people are making dangerous trips across the sea, and they are the most fragile group in the world, and they have fled the most dangerous areas,” criticizing his government’s mistreatment of refugees. In the same context, many political, artistic and rights figures stand in the way of the British government’s plans, including Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland, who has promised the strongest opposition to all these schemes.

The Director of the Regional Office for Europe in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for the commitment of all States and civil society, to place human life, rights and dignity at the center of discussions and at the top of their priorities, in an effort to find solutions. Saving lives must always be a top priority. He called as well for an active fight against smuggling gangs and the expansion of safe and clear-cut paths for the safety of refugees.

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