Channel Crossings

That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right

In October 2014: In the House of Lords: Lord Hylton asked what naval or air-sea rescue contribution they will make to prevent refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. [HL1977]. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con) responded: 

We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. We believe that they create an unintended “pull factor”, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. The Government believes the most effective way to prevent refugees and migrants attempting this dangerous crossing is to focus our attention on countries of origin and transit, as well as taking steps to fight the people smugglers who wilfully put lives at risk by packing migrants into unseaworthy boats. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141015w0001.htm

In 2015: Speaking during a visit to Vietnam, David Cameron said that attempts to enter the UK had increased because

“you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live”.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/30/david-cameron-migrant-swarm-language-condemned

In 2021: this lack of humanity, the ‘othering’ of people seeking a safe place to live continues


Updated 2 December 2021: BBC: Channel migrants: Pushing back boats will increase danger, MPs warn

UK plans to turn back people attempting to cross the Channel are dangerous and probably unlawful, MPs have warned.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said last week the tactic would help deter smuggling gangs, following the deaths of 27 people in a small boat.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is urging Ms Patel to scrap the policy. [see below]

Continue reading “Channel Crossings”

New Plan for Immigration

We will collate reports of the Nationality & Borders Bill which has come out of the recent ‘New Plan for Immigration’.


2 December 2021: Immigration Advisory Service briefing : Committee’s report finds Patel’s immigration plan to be illegal:
A report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights has found that Priti Patel’s new
immigration plans contained in the Nationality and Borders Bill could be illegal.

The report comes as part of the committees ongoing legislative scrutiny of the Nationality and Borders Bill and is focused on part 3 of the bill which sets out changes to immigration law and new powers for enforcement.

The home secretary has claimed that the Nationality and Borders bill will fix the “fundamentally broken asylum system”. One of the tactics that the Home Office has suggested includes pushback methods that would see small boats turned back towards France. In their report, the committee said that this is “likely to see the UK act in contravention of its international obligations.”

Continue reading “New Plan for Immigration”

On EU Borders

See also: https://qarn.org.uk/channel-crossings/


Update 17 November 2021: In short, The refugees were divided into three parts Some of them remained on the Poland border Another part of them are the place of Belarusian soldiers to another place The third part has returned to Belarus and the government has provided them with a temporary place

from Lagkadikia Camqu Hama: 15 November 2021: Tonight this butterfly named Kardin Adnan, a Kurdish refugee, died in front of the European border of humanity, in front of the world because of the dark cold weather ….Yes, Kardin died in front of the Polish gate when the whole world sees Europe of human rights and humanity!?!?!


Human Rights Watch: Stuck in Limbo Between Poland and Belarus

“Die here or go to Poland.” This was the “choice” that a Kurdish man from Syria told me a Belarusian border guard had given him, as he described his horrific experiences on the Poland-Belarus border, pleading with the guard to be allowed go back to the capital, Minsk. He told me he had been pushed back from the Polish side of the border several times, sometimes violently and that his pleas for asylum were ignored by Polish border guards. He ended up, as many have, back on the Belarus side, a place many migrants described as pure hell.

Migrants described the Belarussian border as a place of brute violence, where they were forcibly kept in open spaces without shelter, food, or water for days to weeks, vulnerable to theft and other abuse, and blocked from returning to Minsk or their home countries. They told me how Belarusian border guards pushed them – exhausted and abused – to try again to enter Poland, in most cases unsuccessfully, resulting only in their forced return to Belarus and further abuse.

Read more: Lydia Gall, Human Rights Watch, https://rb.gy/r47khe


9 November 2021: Guardian: Germany urges unity as crisis worsens for migrants at Poland-Belarus border

German interior minister says Poland needs support to deal with ‘hybrid threat’ of politically organised migration

What is happening at the Polish border and who is to blame?

Germany needs to get the “whole of the democratic world” onboard to support orderly immigration to Europe, its interior minister has said, amid a worsening crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.

Horst Seehofer accused Belarus and Russia of exploiting refugees and migrants in an attempt to destabilise the west, and said EU countries must stand together in the face of a “hybrid threat” posed by “politically organised migration”.

Polish police blocked hundreds of people from entering the country on Monday after Belarusian authorities had escorted them to the border.

Poland and other EU countries have accused Belarus of trying to provoke a new refugee crisis in Europe in revenge for their criticism of Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown on domestic opposition. Minsk has reportedly issued special visas allowing migrants to fly into Belarus from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/09/poland-warns-of-armed-attempts-on-its-border-as-germany-urges-eu-to-act

Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.

Start with Hope, change will follow: https://www.goodchance.org.uk/stories/2021/10/4/little-amals-uk-plans-revelead also https://www.walkwithamal.org/events/

Amare has invited Little Amal to visit The Hague from 15 to 21 November 2021 and will welcome her as a special guest at the Open Festival on 19, 20 and 21 November.

“After the immense welcome Little Amal has received from so many thousands of people across the 8000km of The Walk, her visit to The Hague – city of Peace and Justice – is an important next step in the new journey and the new life of Little Amal. As Amare itself begins a new journey and a new life, it is right that Amal should open this new centre of art and welcome.” – Amir Nizar Zuabi

Amal meets Storm at COP26

https://www.walkwithamal.org/amare/


The Walk updated 15 November at 18:17  · Migrant justice = Climate justice.

Little Amal visited @cop26uk last week to stand alongside young changemakers who brought their powerful voices to the conference to demand change.Standing alongside the young Samoan activist @briannafruean, Amal opened the Gender Day plenary as Brianna highlighted the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on girls and women from the global south.Afterwards, Amal met young activists in the heart of the COP26 blue zone beneath the hanging globe…🌍📷 @cop26uk / Douglas Robertson

#migrantjustice#climatejustice#cop26#littleamal#refugeeswelcome#chooselove

Continue reading “Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.”

Life, death and limbo in the Calais ‘Jungle’ – five years after its demolition

3 November 2021 Guardian: Life, death and limbo in the Calais ‘Jungle’ – five years after its demolition

The refugee camp became notorious in 2015, as 1 million people fled war and danger to come to Europe. Years after it was demolished, 2,000 migrants are still waiting there, at the centre of a political storm by Diane Taylor.

A small group of Ethiopian and Eritrean men stand shoeless and shivering in Calais. A few hours earlier, they almost drowned in the Channel, trying to cross to the UK. They got into difficulty when the motor on their boat failed. Their jeans are stiff and sodden with sand and seawater.

Continue reading “Life, death and limbo in the Calais ‘Jungle’ – five years after its demolition”

If you can, please write to your MP and point out that pushbacks are dangerous and unworkable.

Dear Friends,

You may have seen that the government has released its statement on the Afghan resettlement scheme.

There is no deviation from its exclusionary and unlawful policy (under the Refugee Convention) of preventing people claiming asylum except in the smallest of circumstances:

“The details set out above constitute the UK’s comprehensive immigrationresponse to the unique and exceptional circumstances of the evacuation andchange of situation in Afghanistan. There is no change to our longstanding policythat a person can only claim asylum from within the UK. We will not acceptasylum claims at our Embassies, High Commissions or VACs overseas orotherwise; whether by online application or through other correspondence. “

Continue reading “If you can, please write to your MP and point out that pushbacks are dangerous and unworkable.”

Responding to the urgency of the situation in Afghanistan

20 August 2021: From a number of members of the QARN Steering Group:

We understand the urgency of the situation for those fleeing Afghanistan, and also those already in UK who are in the asylum process, or living in the hidden economy without papers at this time.

The situation also provokes us to act, and thoughts in Meetings are turning to offering sponsorship to those who will be brought to UK having been assessed as very vulnerable under the scheme put in place by the UK Government.

These schemes appear attractive to people wanting to do something. They can also bring a range of difficulties to the people offered support, and those offering to help.

People must make their own decisions and there will be others with experience amongst members of the QARN network.

Continue reading “Responding to the urgency of the situation in Afghanistan”

We need new routes to safety immediately

Updated 13 August 2021: Care4Calais: We now know that made the young Eritrean man who died in the sea off Calais yesterday so desperate to leave France.

The 27-year-old had been staying in camp near Calais. In recent days the police were aggressive and violent, taking tents and belongings and harassing people so they could no longer stay even in this rough camp.

In the police’s wake came the smugglers, offering the only way out – a dangerous trip in a small, overloaded boat across the world’s busiest shipping channel.

It takes a lot of luck to make that journey. The Eritrean couple’s luck ran out. There were 37 in their boat, a hopeless overloading. Just off the coast, in choppy conditions, it began to take on water.

Continue reading “We need new routes to safety immediately”

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – David Neal

New Inspections scheduled for 2021-22 include:

  • ‘An inspection of Border Force assurance’
  • ‘An inspection of Intelligence’
  • ‘An inspection of a small airport’
  • ‘An inspection of a small seaport’
  • ‘An inspection of the removal of Foreign National Offenders (FNOs)’

Published 23 July 2021

ICIBI Inspection Plan 2021-22
a. Completed inspections – reports awaiting publication:
 ‘An inspection of ePassport gates (June 2020-January 2021)’. Submitted 17
June 2021
 ‘Second annual inspection of “Adults at Risk in immigration detention” (July
2020-March 2021)’. Submitted 30 June 2021
 ‘A further inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme (3) (July 2020-March
2021)’. Submitted 15 July 2021
 ‘An inspection of asylum casework (August 2020-April 2021)’. Submitted 23
July 2021

Continue reading “Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – David Neal”

Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration

Dear  Friends

If you have not already signed one of the many template letters opposing the Bill, which are being circulated by the Refugee Council, Detention Action and others,  you might like to crib from this letter which I have sent to my MP.

It identifies our Quaker position and refers to the New Plan for Immigration which took up so much of our time earlier this year.   It does not cover everything of concern.

Continue reading “Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration”