Hostile policies will not deter refugees fleeing war

By Simran Johal

THE number of small boat crossings has been rising rapidly, data from the ministry of defence suggests.

Up to March 2022, the number of boats was 141, almost double that of the same period in 2021 at 74 showing that the number is already higher than that of the previous year.

The average number of people per boat has reached 32 up to March 2022 which is already higher than 2021’s average.

Data implies that the numbers don’t show any sign of slowing down.

According to migration watch, the number of people who have crossed illegally up to 21 June 22 is just over double the number that was reported during the same period in 2021.

The number of small boat crossings vs the average number of people per boat

The Home Office defines small boats as “one of a number of vessels used by individuals who cross the Channel”, with the most common types being rigid hulled-inflatable boats, dinghies and kayaks.

Channel Rescue, a grassroots, human rights organisation set up in response to government calls for increased securitisation and militarisation of the English Channel has been monitoring the situation since its founding in 2020. 

On boat crossings, a representative from the organisation said: “The boats people use to cross are small dinghies that are often overcrowded and are not fit for purposes in crossing on the Channel.

“What we are advocating for is humanitarian visas for people to be able to travel safely to the UK and apply for asylum.”

According to the Home Office, males represented approximately 90 per cent of small boat arrivals in 2021, with 75 per cent adult males aged between 18 and 39.

The government’s first flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda was set to leave on Tuesday 14th June but the ECHR and other political groups managed to stop it. 

Ministers are hoping this scheme will discourage others from crossing the English Channel and the scheme is aimed at anyone entering the country “illegally”.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Those who try to jump the queue or abuse our system, will be swiftly and humanely removed to a safe third country or their country of origin.”

Under the Nationality and Borders Bill, it’s much easier for the British government to send refugees abroad for asylum claims to be processed.

The scheme has had a lot of pushback from human rights groups and refugee charities. 

Channel Rescue said: “When people have lost loved ones and endured horrific hardships that whether or not they may be sent to Rwanda will not deter them.

“It’s not the pull factors that come into people’s decision but rather the push factors of the reasons they are forced to leave in the first place. Many people feel they have no choice.”

Featured Image: Pixabay

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