A French politician has blamed Britain for the death of a 16-year-old Sudanese migrant who washed up on a beach in Calais.
Quick reminder ??— Pierre-Henri Dumont (@phdumont) August 19, 2020
UK, 2019 : 35.000 asylum applications, 12.863 granted.
France, 2019 : 177.863 asylum applications, 36.275 granted.
We are doing more than our job to protect refugees. It's now time for the Brits to take their part in the international solidarity. https://t.co/Y7WxBYhQvq
It is believed the boy drowned while attempting to cross the Channel in a makeshift boat, and was found washed up on a French beach on Wednesday morning.
According to French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont, refusing to allow asylum claims to be made outside the UK puts refugees in a ‘dangerous’ situation.
In a post on Twitter he said: ‘What we all feared happened that night.
‘How many more tragedies does it need for the British to find an ounce of humanity?’
The news comes as Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office’s newly appointed clandestine Channel threat commander, will return to France on Thursday to continue discussions with officials in Paris and Calais in a bid to tackle the crisis.
Opposition MPs and charities criticised the government’s handling of the situation, with a call for Home Secretary Priti Patel to consider her position.
Dumont, who represents the northern region of Pas-de-Calais in the French National Assembly, said Channel crossings had been increasing in recent weeks, and claimed migrants in Calais do not want to seek asylum in France and refuse state support – preferring to ‘risk their lives’ in rafts.
Home secretary Priti Patel, who has pledged to make the route ‘unviable’, said the death was ‘an upsetting and tragic loss of a young life’.
She said: ‘This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.’
But Labour leader Keir Starmer went further, calling it ‘a humanitarian crisis that needs a compassionate response.’
In Dover, children were among more than 50 migrants who arrived on boats on Wednesday morning, with more than 4,700 reaching the UK by small boats so far this year.
Tory former minister Tim Loughton, however, retaliated by blaming the French for the current state of affairs.
He said: ‘Frankly, it is appalling that the French are allowing people to endanger their lives.
‘That is where the lack of humanity is, I’m afraid.’
He told Channel 4 News: ‘What is happening now is people who are getting into boats, in many cases paying £4,000 to people traffickers, are effectively queue-jumping genuine asylum seekers.’