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UK: Government's plan to push back refugees to France is 'senseless'

Migrants cross English Channel by sea
Migrants cross English Channel by sea © Luke Dray

Responding to the Home Secretary Priti Patel’s reported plan to “push back” to French waters migrant boats crossing the Channel, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:

“The Government’s push back plan is senseless, dangerous and almost certainly unlawful.

“Intercepting vessels in the Channel is incredibly high-risk and to push people back will endanger their lives which is totally at odds with the legal duty of rescue at sea.

“People have every right to seek asylum in the UK, and they only make dangerous journeys and rely on smugglers because there are no safe alternatives made available to them.

“Those with family or other clear connections to this country currently have no means of exercising their legal right to seek asylum in the UK without relying on frightening journeys like these.

“Coming on top of draconian plans to criminalise refugees arriving in the UK, this ​is a government playing politics with people’s lives in the Channel. It is cruel and destined to fail.

“The Home Secretary should end this ​falsely ‘tough’ posturing and enter into meaningful talks with her French counterparts over properly sharing refugee responsibility with France, a country which receives three times as many people seeking asylum as the UK.”

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