The latest in a long line of tragedies in the English Channel saw four people – one a teenager – die after a dinghy ran into difficulties off the Kent coast on Wednesday, 14th December. Thirty-nine people were rescued.
The Right Reverend Paul McAleenan, Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, has called for a solution to this humanitarian crisis to include international cooperation, safe routes for migrants and refugees, improved search and rescue operations and a committment to tackling the evils of human trafficking.
“Over the coming week countless thousands will undertake journeys to reunite with their families for Christmas. Christians will reflect on the laborious journey of the Holy Family first to Bethlehem and then a desperate journey to Egypt to escape persecution. But what about those whose journey ended tragically in the Channel on Wednesday (14 December) and all those migrants and refugees whose journeys throughout the year are full of desperation and danger of death?
“Pope Francis has described the Mediterranean Sea as a vast cemetery. The same is increasingly true of our own waters, notwithstanding the brave efforts of those who selflessly put their safety at risk in order to save lives. Once again we demand that the solution to this humanitarian crisis must include greater international cooperation, more safe routes for migrants and refugees, better resourced search and rescue operations, and meaningful action to tackle the evils of human trafficking.
“We hear the cry of those leaving their homelands in search of a better life and we reject the failed notion that stricter border controls are the way to prevent further tragedies.
“May those who died rest in peace and their families be consoled.”