By Razia, CEO KRAN
How do you respond to a phone call from someone who says it was the boys f***ing fault for dying at sea. How could anyone blame a young Sudanese boy for drowning in the channel as he tried to find safe passage to the UK ? Was it his fault for being born in a country that was not at peace, his fault for having to leave his family and homeland because he was in fear of persecution, having to find his way through the unknown across europe to try and find somewhere safe where he could belong and have a future ? The thought that while we were sleeping in our cosy beds, a young boy who had already travelled so many miles from Sudan, who couldnt afford to pay a smuggler, risked his life for freedom and paid the ultimate price is difficult for us to truly comprehend, How could anybody react to that by blaming him. My daughter wondered how he would be identified and what the French authorities would do with the body and that got me thinking, how would his family and friends learn of this tragedy. What about all those lives that were lost at sea that were never washed up and their untold stories and their lost potential.
Where is the human dignity, respect and value of human life in the current process to seek refuge where you have to reach the country in order to claim asylum. The answer is so simple, the UK needs to establish an asylum centre on the French coast, and offer a legal and safe route to seek asylum in the UK. Overnight, that would prevent people having to pay smugglers and risk their lives to cross the channel. The political blame game has to stop.
People from all walks of life need to come together and form a critical mass through social media to make this happen and they need to do it NOW, while the pressure is on to find a viable solution. The UNHCR, UK Government Foreign Affairs Select Committee (Nov 2019) and countless charities (JCWI) have already stated that a legal and safe route is the only way forward. Let’s make this happen before we face a new tragedy this time on UK shores, and have to deal with those who dehumanise and blame those fleeing persecution, even though they have every right to seek refuge in the UK.