A MIGRANT rescue group promised today to “not sit back and allow” the England Channel to “become a mass graveyard like the waters of the Mediterranean.”
Channel Rescue, which launched last Thursday and surpassed its £10,000 funding goal in less than 24 hours, will be launching a human rights monitoring mission off the Kent coast.
“The idea for Channel Rescue originated in conversations between friends who have over 20 years of experience in migrant solidarity work, community activism and anti-racist campaigning,” the group said in a statement.
“Regardless of the legal rights and wrong of the situation [in the Channel], there is a burgeoning humanitarian crisis emerging, with men, women and children risking their lives to arrive on these shores.”
The group said that it intends to use the money raised to buy a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, supplies and safety equipment to ensure the migrants attempting to cross the Channel are provided with the protections granted to them by international law.
Channel Rescue will also monitor any instances of “pushbacks,” a term used to describe the illegal practice of returning refugees to a place where they might face persecution.
“We have not started out with the intention to ‘ferry’ or transport migrants to shore,” Channel Rescue said in response to concerns that their presence will tempt people to try to make the dangerous crossing.
“If during our patrols, we encounter migrants in distress … we will contact the appropriate authorities … while simultaneously honouring our legal and moral requirement to save life.
“We start in the first instance as ‘eyes on the sea’.”
Channel Rescue is still accepting donations and looking for volunteers. More details here: bit.ly/316MNMO.
Over 100 humanitarian groups, Windrush survivors and religious organisations have signed a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, demanding safe and legal routes following the government’s “dangerous rhetoric” on crossings.