Twenty-seven refugees drowned in the English Channel last Wednesday in what the International Organization for Migration said is the biggest loss of life to occur in the maritime crossing between France and the U.K. since the U.N. agency started collecting data in 2014. Three of the victims were children. Vigils were held on both sides of the Channel.
Marwa Mezdour: “We can say this happened because of smugglers, but it’s the responsibility of these deadly migration policies, above all. We see this every day. What’s happening is a policy of harassment, of tiring them out, and really degrading, inhuman treatment of exiled persons, be it in Calais, Grande-Synthe, anywhere here in northern France.”
The tragedy sparked tensions between France and Britain, with the U.K. home secretary being shut out of a meeting among European officials about the humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain should turn away any refugees that do arrive on British shores from the French port city of Calais.