Refugees living in northern France said that Britain’s exit from the European Union made it easier for them to reach the kingdom by small boats, as record numbers of people crossed the Channel in one day.
Despite the deteriorating weather and attempts by the UK government to deter them, 1,185 people crossed the channel on Thursday, according to the Home Office.
Refugees who have fled a variety of conflict zones, including Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Eritrea, told the Guardian that they believe the fact that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, which makes it “more risky”, because they cannot be sent back. to other European countries, in accordance with the legislation of the Union.
In October 2020, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, said that Brexit would enable Britain to regain “full control of money, borders and laws”.
The total number of people fleeing conflict and seeking asylum in the UK has fallen to 31,115 in the past 12 months, but the number crossing from France to the UK in small boats has risen sharply since the UK split from the European Union.
Previously, when the UK was part of the European Union, under an agreement known as Dublin, the UK could ask other EU countries to take back people who could be proven to have passed through the EU safe countries before arriving in the UK.
Thanks to the agreement, British officials were able to access the fingerprint database of refugees, and after Brexit, it was no longer available to them, and they could no longer request the refugees to be deported to the countries where they had fingerprints.
The UK has not yet concluded any bilateral agreements with other EU countries to enable it to replicate the Dublin Agreement and therefore they (the refugees) cannot be deported to other countries, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper recently conducted interviews with dozens of asylum seekers in their camps in northern France. Many were malnourished, weak and in desperate condition, fleeing from a variety of conflict areas. Some traveled through Libya where they were detained and trafficked.
A 19-year-old Sudanese man who is currently in Calais, France, said: “We think we will not be safe unless we can get to the UK. Here the French police beat us and expelled us every day from the places where we sleep in the open. UK I’ll be safe at last. There’s no more Dublin, no more fingerprints.”
A Kurdish man named Naveed, who sleeps in a tent in Dunkirk, said his family had made an arrangement with smugglers to pay for his crossing in a small boat.
“Everyone here is telling me that because of Brexit it is much easier to find safety in the UK,” he added. “I hope I can cross without losing my life and find a safe future in the UK.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The British public is tired of seeing people die in the Channel while ruthless criminal gangs profit from their misery, and our new immigration scheme will fix the broken system that encourages migrants to make this deadly journey. People must seek asylum. In the first safe country they reach – rather than making dangerous journeys to the UK. That is why we will have rules in place to make asylum claims inadmissible if people have traveled through or been in contact with safe countries.”
He added, “There is a global and European migration crisis and states have a moral responsibility to address the issue of illegal immigration. We expect our international partners to partner with us to prevent people from the risky crossing.”
Source: The Guardian
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