On the anniversary of a tragic incident where 27 individuals lost their lives in a mass drowning in the Channel, their loved ones have released a letter urging for clarification on the details of the event.
A letter, signed by numerous refugee organizations, declares that the families affected by the sinking dinghy incident still lack understanding of why French and British authorities did not assist despite receiving multiple distress calls.
At least one expecting mother and three minors were among the 27 fatalities found following the sinking of the dinghy. Four individuals are still unaccounted for.
The message declares: “We will always remember the lives lost on that night, as well as those of loved ones lost since. We are calling for justice and change. We hope for individuals seeking refuge on British shores to be recognized as fellow human beings, deserving of rights, empathy, and respect.”
This type of tragedy happens because our politicians continue to “other” people – treating them as less than human, including sons and fathers, mothers and daughters, friends and family members.
The message advocates for secure pathways for all refugees seeking to enter the UK and enhanced programs for resettlement and reuniting refugee families. It asserts that this is the only solution to prevent further tragedies from occurring.
A recent report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), a division of the Department for Transport (DfT), looked into the incident and discovered that there was a lack of clarity that evening due to several SOS calls being received, unfavorable weather conditions, and understaffing in the emergency response team.
The families have not been informed of the timeline for releasing the results of the investigation into the tragedy, which was announced following the publication of the MAIB report.
A group of charities in the refugee field, such as Calais Appeal, Care4Calais, Freedom from Torture, Refugee Action, the Refugee Council, Safe Passage, and the Scottish Refugee Council, collaborated to compose the open letter.
Steve Smith, the chief executive of Care4Calais, said: “Two years on from the largest loss of life in the Channel in decades, no one has taken responsibility for the failure of UK authorities to respond to the desperate calls for help from those on board this tragic boat.
“The families must receive answers, the responsible individuals must be held accountable, and our government must prioritize the safety of refugees by offering secure passage in order for justice to truly be served.”
Since the tragic event of multiple people drowning on November 24, 2021, there have been several similar incidents in the Channel, with the most recent occurring on Wednesday resulting in the death of two individuals approximately 0.6 miles (1km) from the French coast. In total, over 27,000 individuals seeking asylum have crossed the Channel in small boats this year.