21 August 2020
The recent Channel Crossings have dominated the recent news cycle and unfortunately included the tragic and avoidable death of Abdulfatah Hamdallah from Sudan. At STAR we urge you to write to your MP to create safe routes and stop putting people seeking asylum at risk and at the hands of people traffickers.
The recent Channel Crossings have dominated the recent news cycle and unfortunately included the tragic and avoidable death of Abdulfatah Hamdallah from Sudan. This 16 year old boy could still be alive had the government provided safe ways for people to reach the UK and claim asylum. Instead, current policies are forcing people to make these dangerous and deadly journeys, leaving them in the hands of people traffickers.
The government’s response has focused on closing borders rather than ensuring the safety of people seeking asylum in the UK. If the Home Office were truly serious about tackling exploitation and trafficking, they would create safe and legal routes of entry to the UK. This week we have seen how they have put people at further risk.
At STAR we know that making the decision to cross the channel is not an easy one, but one that many have to make for their safety. Ahman Al-Rashid has written about this impossible decision saying, “I never imagined that I would be forced to flee Syria… I took life and peace for granted.” He describes how with “no ID, no passport, no documents, no money – nothing” he had to turn to armed smugglers for a route to safety. Instead of safety, he and other women, children and men were given fake life jackets designed to sink rather than float, as they travelled across the sea in a rubber dinghy.
When watching the news, it is easy to forget that these are people – like you or me- who are fleeing war or persecution. Nobody wants to leave their home, but unfortunately many have no choice. It is not possible to make an asylum claim from outside the UK and so many take the dangerous journey across the channel.
There are some ways you can help to prevent more tragic deaths:
- Contact your MP and urge them to support safer, legal routes to reach the UK.
- Tell your MP, in your own words, why the UK needs to create safe, regular routes for people hoping to reach the UK and claim asylum. If you are unsure of what to say, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants have created an email template for you to send to your MP, asking them to ensure the government’s response does not cause further harm to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
Additionally, if you were as disgusted as we were with the media coverage of people travelling across the Channel:
- Write to Ofcom about the coverage of Channel Crossings here, to the BBC here or email Sky News via ‘news @ skynews.com’. Choose Love has created a template letter to send to them.
- You can also directly tweet your opinions to broadcasters and use the hashtag #ChangeTheStory.
It is essential that the UK creates safe and regular routes for those seeking asylum, particularly as ministers plan to end family reunions previously allowed under the Dublin Regulation endangering refugee children with family in the UK.
Continue this conversation with friends and family and help to create more safe routes to the UK.
“People will always flee war and persecution, and use every possible means available to do so. Instead of simply shutting down routes like the Channel crossing, it is imperative that legal pathways are created.” – Ahmad Al-Rashid