In a tragic development, at least 30 migrants have died while heading to the United Kingdom after their boat capsized in the English Channel near Calais.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that the capsizing of the boat was a ‘tragedy’ as he lashed out at what he called were ‘criminal smugglers.’
According to the BBC, the International Organisation for Migration called the deaths of 30 migrants the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since they began collecting data in 2014.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he was ‘shocked and appalled and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea in the Channel.’
“I think that the details are still coming in but more than 20 people have lost their lives as you know,” Johnson said, adding that the incident was an ‘appalling thing that they have suffered.’
Johnson said that the development showed just how ‘vital it is that we now step up our efforts to break the business model of the gangsters who are sending people to sea in this way.’
Former Home Office minister Chris Philp tweeted, “This an awful human tragedy – especially as France is a safe country and the journey across the Channel therefore unnecessary. French law enforcement must stop these crossings for the safety of those involved.”
British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has been facing condemnation for her brutal stance on migrants entering the UK, has not reacted yet. She was believed to have told the British border security force to turn the vessels carrying migrants towards France. Human rights activists had termed her advice illegal saying that it was in breach of international law since it violates Article 14 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.
The UK is governed by the Conservative Party with Johnson as prime minister.