The possible deployment of large naval vessels in the English Channel to intercept boats with illegal migrants traveling from France to the UK is fraught with tragic consequences. This was warned in a joint statement issued in Geneva by the Office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and the international organization for migration (IOM).
They are concerned about вЂњ proposals to intercept boats and return those who try to cross the English channel illegally.вЂќ вЂњThe planned deployment of large naval vessels to prevent such crossings [of the Strait] and block small, fragile boats can lead to dangerous and fatal consequences,вЂќ UNHCR and IOM stated.
According to them, the main priority should be given to вЂњsaving lives on land and at seaвЂќ. In this regard, the two organizations called on governments in Europe and around the world to expand search and rescue operations and combat people smugglers and trafficking networks. The UNHCR and IOM believe that due to the UK's exit from the European Union, migrants вЂњwith family or other significant connectionsвЂќ in the United Kingdom should be able to вЂњcontinue to travel safely.вЂќ
Since the beginning of the year, more than 4,000 illegal immigrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK on inflatable boats. Most of them have previously applied for asylum in other European countries, where the British authorities have the right to deport them, but in fact, this is a rather complex procedure. In accordance with the Dublin regulations, it must be completed within nine months, but this is not always possible to do. The British government emphasizes that from January 1, when the transition period ends after the Kingdom leaves the EU, London will adopt laws that simplify the procedure for deporting illegal immigrants.
Earlier, the British media reported that the authorities of the Kingdom may follow the example of Australia, starting to deploy boats with illegal immigrants directly into the sea. So far, this proposal has not been officially announced by members of the British government but has already been severely criticized as fraught with creating dangerous situations and the death of immigrants.