The government has “learned nothing” from the preventable deaths of 31 people in the English Channel, charities said on the anniversary of the tragedy.
On November 24, 2021, a dinghy with 34 people on board sank as they attempted to make the dangerous journey to the UK from France.
The disaster – the worst migrant disaster ever in the Strait of Dover – claimed the lives of most people on board, including an unborn baby.
A vigil for the deceased will take place this evening in Parliament Square, organized by refugee charity Care4Calais, while another is expected in Dunkirk, France.
The government said its thoughts were with the families of the victims and claimed its controversial nationality and borders law was beginning to have an impact on smugglers.
Zana Mamand Mohammad, whose brother lost his life in the disaster, said: “My teenage brother, a year after you disappeared, I have been trying nonstop to find out anything about you and knocking on every the doors.
“I’m still looking at my phone hoping for a message or a call from you. I’m doing my best to get justice for you and your friends.”
In the days following the incident, there was public outcry and politicians on both sides of the Channel were quick to condemn human traffickers and demand solutions.
But in the 365 days since those 31 people drowned, nearly 44,000 have made the perilous crossing and the numbers are only rising, according to data from the PA news agency.
“The government has learned nothing from the tragedy of the last year,” Tim Naor Hilton, chief executive of Refugee Action, told Sky News.
He accused the government of continuing to “pile up hostility towards asylum seekers”.
He added: “There are no safe routes for most people to reach the UK, a snowballing backlog, tens of thousands of people stranded in hotels and hundreds of millions wasted on a deal with Rwanda, drones, a work ban and other cruel and ineffective deterrent regimes.
“This hostility makes it more likely that there will be tragedy – whether in the English Channel or among asylum seekers living in poverty and isolation in the UK.”
A preliminary report on the tragedy claimed that The French and British emergency services held each other accountable during the horrific incident.
He alleged that the passengers first called the emergency services around 2 a.m. and then continued for almost two hours, begging them to intervene.
“Today we remember the men, women and children who died in the English Channel as they sought safety in the UK,” refugee rights director Steve Valdez-Symonds told Sky News. and migrants for Amnesty International UK.
“This tragedy could and should have been avoided if governments on both sides of these waters had prioritized the lives, well-being and rights of these people – including their right to seek asylum.
“The simple truth is that people fleeing war and persecution will continue to make these perilous journeys – whether by boat or by other means – if governments refuse to share the responsibility for providing safe access to secure systems. properly functioning asylum.”
A government spokesman said: “Our hearts go out to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tragic incident last November.
“We cannot have a repeat of this devastating event, which is why we are working with our international partners to disrupt the smuggling gangs behind these dangerous crossing points who put lives at risk with every trip they organise.
“As is common practice in such circumstances, the Marine Casualty Investigation Branch is carrying out a safety investigation focusing on the emergency response to the incident, with which HM Coastguard and the Department of Interior cooperate fully.”