Socialist Worker

Refugee drowns in the Channel as Tories call for more repression

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2719

Priti Patel - I am absolutely committed to making this route unviable, she said last week.

Priti Patel - 'I am absolutely committed to making this route unviable', she said last week. (Pic: @pritipatel on Twitter)


Refugee campaigners have slammed the Tory government’s “total failure” after a Sudanese boy’s body was washed up on a beach in northern France on Wednesday morning.

The refugee, named as Abdulfatah Hamdallah, drowned trying to cross the Channel with another boy in an inflatable dinghy using shovels for oars. He died because of the Tories’ border regime designed to repel people.

This death comes as British and French authorities have ramped up repression to stop refugees. The teenager was one of the hundreds of people who have fled war, dictatorship and poverty and who are now trapped at Britain’s border in northern France and Belgium.

Stand Up To Racism said, "The racist policies of our government are to blame for forcing vulnerable children into unsafe craft as they flee for their lives. RIP this child whose only 'crime' was to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Clare Moseley is the founder of Care4Calais, a charity providing aid to refugees who live in makeshift settlements in the area. “This death starkly demonstrates the total failure of our government to do anything to help those who are in such desperate straits,” she said.

“Things need to change. We need a way for people’s asylum claims to be fairly heard without them having to risk their lives. We need this before someone else dies.”

Failure

She slammed the Tories’ “failure to do anything for the people here who are simply asking for our help”, “failure to implement the Dubs Amendment” and “negotiate for family reunion”.

These rules would allow some child refugees to come to Britain using safe and legal routes.

In January Tory MPs voted against proposals to guarantee the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with family living in Britain. Socialist Worker’s front page at the time said, “Racist law will kill children.”

The Tories have blood on their hands for the death of the Sudanese boy.

Tory home secretary Priti Patel tried to deflect her responsibility for his death onto people smugglers. “This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people,” she said.

“Working together we are determined to stop them.” 

However, no people smugglers appear to have been involved. Charles Devos, head of a Calais rescue service, said the youths were in “a small boat that you can find in supermarkets and that you inflate by mouth”.

“It would have been impossible to make the crossing in it. And with the ferries going at 22 knots, the rolls that occur after they have passed would have turned the boat upside down,” Devos said.

Tories’ racist migrant plan is a death sentence for refugees
Tories’ racist migrant plan is a death sentence for refugees
  Read More

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said “the situation is lacking in humanity and completely unacceptable”. And in a letter to the home secretary, he asked about legal advice for deploying the Royal Navy to back up the border police in the English Channel.

But nowhere has Labour said that the refugees should have safe and legal routes into Britain. Instead, Thomas-Symonds said, “The government urgently needs to work on a solution with international partners and address the exploitative behaviour of criminal gangs—this is costing lives.”

Even if smugglers were involved, their business depends wholly on Britain, France and the European Union’s racist border regime. If there were safe and legal routes for refugees, they would not be forced to rely on traffickers.

Britain and its international partners are the big-time criminals—and their rhetoric encourages violence.

A refugee was attacked on a Kent beach just moments after landing onshore in a dinghy on Sunday.

The man, thought to be in his 20s, was assaulted by an unknown assailant who watched the boat arrive on the beach near Deal.

Death and attacks are the result when Nigel Farage talks of "invaders" and the Tories denounce refugees. 

Ruling classes everywhere are imposing murderous policies against refugees. 

At least 45 migrants and refugees, including five children, died this week in the deadliest shipwreck off Libya this year, the UN refugee agency says.

They were among more than 80 people on board a vessel whose engine exploded off the coast of Zwara. 

More than 300 people are known to have died trying to cross the sea from Libya to Europe in 2020, with the actual figure believed to be much higher.

Refugees Welcome Here. LONDON Protest Tuesday 25 August, 6pm-8pm, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF. Details here. MANCHESTER Saturday 22 August, 2pm-3pm, St Peters Square. Details here. BRISTOL Saturday 22 August, 2pm-3pm, Bear Pit, St James Barton roundabout. Details hereSWANSEA Saturday 22 August, 11am, Castle Square. Details here. LANCASTER Friday 21 August, 3pm-4.15pm, Dalton Square. Details hereCARDIFF Thursday 20 August, 5pm, Home Office, General Buildings. Details here. NORWICH Saturday 22 August, 11.30am, BBC Radio Norfolk, The Forum. Details here COVENTRY Friday 21August, 12.30pm, Broadgate. Details here SHEFFIELD Saturday 22 August, 12 noon, Town Hall. Details here

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.