Parliament: There are no Safe Routes for Refugees and Asylum Seekers to the UK

23 November 2023: Guardian: Man and woman reportedly drown trying to cross Channel to UK

Fifty-eight others rescued, with many suffering from hypothermia after dinghy capsizes less than a kilometre from French shore

A man and a woman are reported to have drowned on Wednesday trying to cross the Channel to the UK in a small boat.

Fifty-eight others were rescued, with many of the survivors understood to have been suffering from hypothermia.

The latest tragedy comes just two days before the second anniversary of the deadliest drowning in the Channel in 40 years on 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people drowned.

NGOs in northern France say there have been four other deaths at the border in recent days, with two people killed on the highway between Calais and Dunkirk and two dying in a fight.

There were about 100 people in the dunes on a beach close to Boulogne earlier on Wednesday waiting to cross the Channel, according to eye witnesses. Police with riot shields fired teargas and one group, which included the man and woman who died, tried to get on to a dinghy as fast as possible to avoid being caught by the police.

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Thanks to John O: Parliament: There are no Safe Routes for Refugees and Asylum Seekers to the UK

Lord Dubs: To ask His Majesty’s Government what safe routes to the United Kingdom are available to child refugees and asylum seekers.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office: Lord Sharpe of Epsom

There are no provisions in our Immigration Rules to enable someone to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge. The UK welcomes vulnerable refugees, including children, directly from regions of conflict and instability through our global resettlement routes, the UK resettlement scheme, community sponsorship and the mandate resettlement scheme. We also have bespoke routes responding to crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan and the Hong Kong BNO visa route.

Lord Dubs: I am grateful for the Answer, but is it not the truth that virtually every safe and legal route to child refugees has been closed by the Government? Perhaps the Minister will not recall, but some years ago I was given assurances both privately by Ministers and in the House that the Government would not close down safe and legal routes. Why are they not willing to do that?

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