A project committed to the monitoring and documentation to ensure the human rights of people crossing the English channel has launched yesterday.
Channel Rescue is a grassroots human rights monitoring group set up in response to an increased number in channel crossings. They will fact find, document landings, act as legal observers, and support recently arrived people. Their aim is to ensure that people crossing the channel are offered the aid that is currently protected to them by international law, and to ensure no violations of human rights are committed.
Max Williams of Channel Rescue said:
“We have set up channel rescue because we are concerned about the hostile narrative being created by both the government and in some media that have sought to demonize those migrating across the English Channel. In recent weeks we have seen shocking scenes of members of far-right organizations attacking people on beaches and last week the border force trailed push backs. There is a burgeoning humanitarian crisis emerging that risks turning the channel into a graveyard. Women, men and children fleeing war and persecution and in search of safety are risking their lives to arrive on these shores.”
Crossings of the channel by people seeking asylum have increased in the last few months with people increasingly making the perilous journey by boat. Many of the people arriving in the UK are fleeing conflict and persecution in their own countries and are coming to the UK to seek safety. The Channel Rescue project will organise volunteer shore patrols along beaches of Kent.
“At the moment we will be starting with regular shore patrols to spot arriving boats, acting as eyes on the sea. If during our patrols, we encounter people in distress we will contact the appropriate authorities such as the coastguard and RNLI. We recognize and honor the legal and moral requirement to save life at sea as upheld in the 1982 UN convention.”
Despite being the 6th richest country in the world, the UK grants a comparatively low number of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave and resettlement. In the year to March 2020, just 20,339 people were offered protection by the UK compared too 165,615 asylum applications in Germany, 151,070 in France, 117,800 in Spain and 77,275 in Greece in the same period, according to Eurostat.