5 die trying to cross English Channel, hours after UK approves Rwanda deportation bill

AP , Tuesday 23 Apr 2024

At least 5 people have died while crossing the English Channel, according to French media, hours after the UK approved the migrant deportation bill.

UK Rwanda bill
File photo: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference at Downing Street in London. AP

 

The Voix du Nord newspaper said the bodies were discovered at the Wimereaux beach in northern France on Tuesday. The rescue operation is ongoing and helicopters and boats have been deployed, according to the regional newspaper.

About 100 migrants have been rescued and placed aboard a French navy ship. They will be taken to the port of Boulogne, the paper said.

This came only hours after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s latest effort to send some migrants on a one-way ticket to Rwanda finally won approval from Parliament. The UK government plans to deport some of those who enter the country illegally as a deterrent to migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in hopes that they will be able to claim asylum once they reach Britain.

Human rights groups have described the legislation as inhumane and cruel. Both the United Nations refugee agency and the Council of Europe called on the UK Tuesday to rethink its plans for fears they could damage international cooperation on tackling the global migrant crisis.

Migrants trying to cross the busy Channel face drownings and sinking among other deadly incidents, often aboard crowded boats.

An estimated 30,000 people made the crossing in 2023, according to UK government figures.

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