Channel crossings & UK

Gemeinsame Erklärung zur tödlichen Havarie vom 14. Dezember 2022

Eine Woche nach der tödlichen Havarie im Ärmelkanal (siehe hier und hier) veröffentlichen zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen und Aktivist_innen aus Frankreich, Großbritannien und Belgien ein gemeinsames Statement zur Lage der Geflüchteten auf der Kanalroute. Sie stellen den Tod der vier Menschen in den Kontext der hostile environment-Politik beiderseits des Ärmelkanals, wenden sich gegen die aktuellen Verschärfungen der Migrationspolitik und plädieren für Bewegungsfreiheit. Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir den auf der Website des Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants veröffentlichten Text:

Joint statement on last week’s deaths in the Channel 

A week ago, news broke that a major rescue operation was underway in the Channel to rescue people from a small boat who were trying to reach safety in the UK. Reports later confirmed that four people had died, with some still missing and others in the hospital fighting for their lives. Emergency services were able to rescue 43 people, including 12 children, from the freezing waters in the early hours of the morning. Since then, a 19-year-old has been charged with assisting unlawful immigration in relation to this incident. 

Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those who died last Wednesday. But these deaths are not an ‘accidental tragedy’. Instead they are the result of a political choice by the UK and French governments who continue to cut down safe routes for migration, forcing people to take these perilous journeys. Both countries have strengthened their security-focused, militarised approach to immigration. While both governments refuse to change course, we are watching the Channel become a mass grave like the Mediterranean.  

The environment in France is increasingly hostile to the survival of people on the move, with police violence, evictions, and the theft of tents and personal belongings. If they survive all this, and the perilous crossing, the hostile environment in the UK then criminalises them. 

These deaths did not happen in isolation – this is just the latest event in a string of deaths at the border. It has only been one year since the last mass murder in the Channel, when over 30 people died. Three years since the bodies of 39 people were recovered in a lorry in Essex. Over 20 years since 58 people were recovered in a lorry in Dover. 

History will keep repeating itself if the UK and French governments continue with their policy of closed borders.

This latest event has come in the wake of the French and British governments announcing even harsher measures for migrants, new bilateral agreements between France and the UK, and a High Court decision ruling the Rwanda scheme as lawful. None of these hostile policies, nor the arrest of a teenager, will address the reasons why people risk their lives at sea. 

These policies are an attack on people who are forced to flee war, conflict and persecution in search of safety.

We don’t need any more empty comments from the French and UK governments mourning these deaths. Both governments must take action and end the hostile environment for people on the move on both sides of the Channel. Until then, our migration and asylum systems will continue to function exactly as they were designed – to create devastation and cruelty. We are thankful for the actions of rescuers and all those involved in supporting people on the move, yet we acknowledge these are only palliative measures to a broken system made to oppress people.

We need the freedom to move and access to safe routes to cross borders now, more than ever, to prevent more detentions, deportations, and deaths. 


African Rainbow Family

Agora Europe

Amna Refugee Healing Network

Association Bagagérue

Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)

Asylum Welcome 

Big Leaf Foundation

Black Europeans 

Calais Action


Calderdale Valley of Sanctuary

Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group

Camille Louis


Channel Info Project

Channel Rescue

Claude Calame, EHESS, LDH, ATTAC

Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre 

CRIBS International

Da’aro Youth Project 

Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity

Doctors of the World UK 

Fabienne Augié

Felicity Pike 


Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et sociaux 

Frantz Fanon Foundation 

Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group

Gee Manoharan

Global Link

Good Chance Theatre

Guildford Refugee Aid

Herts For Refugees 

Human Rights Observers – HRO


Jesuit Refugee Service UK

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants 

Josie Naughton, Co-founder and CEO of Choose Love 

Katherine Bolton 

L’Auberge des Migrants

Le Gisti

Ligue de Droits Humains de Belgique

Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Marco Mogiani

Migrant Voice

Migrants At Work LTD 

Migrants Organise 

Migrants’ Rights Network

Migrations Libres


Mr Mark Lampert / Herts for Refugees


Nora Fellens


Oxford Against Immigration Detention

Penrith and Eden Refugee Network




Refugee Action 

Refugee Aid Network 

Refugee Legal Support 

Refugee Relief Ynys Mon

Refugee Support Group

Reunite Families UK

Right to Remain



Side by Side Refugees

SOAS Detainee Support

St Albans for Refugees 

Syd Bolton, Catriona Jarvis, The Last Rights Project

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)

The Pickwell Foundation

The Refugee Buddy Project

Valérie Osouf

Vents Contraires 

Watch the Channel

William Nicholas Gomes, human rights activist and freelance journalist, UK 

Woodyard Calais

Zoe Gardner

If you would like to stand in solidarity with migrants and resist cruel immigration systems, get in touch with any of the signatories above to get involved in their work.