The death of 27 migrants in the sinking of a boat in the English Channel prompted many reactions from associations, residents and political leaders. Many of them denounce the role of smugglers in this drama.
The sinking of a migrant boat in the English Channel which left 27 people dead on 24 November sparked a number of reactions mixing agitation and indignation. Politicians of all stripes have questioned the role of smugglers in this tragedy.
The government attacks those who « organize human trafficking »
In a press release, Emmanuel Macron expressed himself in these terms: « It is Europe in what it carries deepest – humanism, respect for the dignity of everyone, who is in mourning this evening ».
The President of the French Republic also expressed his « compassion » and « the unconditional support of France » to the families of the victims. He finally assured that « all [serait] implemented to find and condemn those responsible ”. « France will not let the Channel become a cemetery, » he added. The Head of State also called on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to « use a dramatic situation ».
Prime Minister Jean Castex reacted on Twitter to this « tragedy »: « My thoughts are with the many missing and injured, victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and their misery. » The head of government also indicated that the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin was going there.
The shipwreck in the English Channel is a tragedy.
My thoughts are with the many missing and injured, victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and misery.
I follow the situation in real time.@GDarmanin goes there.
– Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) November 24, 2021
In Calais, the latter estimated that « those primarily responsible for this despicable situation are the smugglers, that is to say criminals who for a few thousand euros organize human trafficking ».
The responsibility for this tragedy is above all that of the smugglers, who endanger the lives of unscrupulous men, women and children. Our police and gendarmes are mobilized on a daily basis to fight against these criminals. pic.twitter.com/q5zLByTCi2
– Gerald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) November 24, 2021
Gérald Darmanin confirmed this position on RTL on the morning of November 25, affirming that “pregnant women and children” had died yesterday.
Those responsible for the drama which took place yesterday in the Channel are the smugglers, who for a few thousand euros promise Eldorado in England. The smugglers are criminals, this tragedy reminds us, painfully. pic.twitter.com/xycM8tZIqZ
– Gerald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) November 25, 2021
Politicians from all walks of life express compassion and call for responsibility
On BFM TV, the RN candidate for the next presidential election Marine Le Pen said she was « horrified » and questioned the « laxity » of the government in matters of migration, in particular its « culpable weakness » according to her with regard to networks of smugglers who “traffic in human beings”.
📹 Laxity in migratory matters leads to tragedies, the culpable weakness that we have with regard to the networks of smugglers who traffic in human beings leads to tragedies. @BFMTV#Calaispic.twitter.com/LSHnfJhvhg
– Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) November 24, 2021
« Shame on who made it possible and first of all the smugglers, » said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France rebellious (LFI) on Twitter. “We have to open up safe access to England. France is neither a border guard nor a jailer in the service of the United Kingdom, ”he then suggested.
27 dead in the Channel. Shame on who made it possible and first of all on the smugglers. We need to have safe access to England. France is neither a border guard nor a jailer in the service of the United Kingdom.
– Jean-Luc Mélenchon (@JLMelenchon) November 24, 2021
His colleague LFI deputy of the Somme François Ruffin for his part referred to « victims of poverty, victims of smugglers, victims of a policy of border guard of the United Kingdom unworthy of France ». “Review the Touquet agreements, urgently,” he recommended. In force since 2004, these agreements fix the British border on the French coast. In return, London pays financial compensation, the amounts of which are regularly renegotiated. This year, the United Kingdom pledged in July to pay France an additional 62.7 million euros.
27 victims in the Channel. Victims of poverty, victims of smugglers, victims of a United Kingdom border guard policy unworthy of France. Review the Touquet agreements, urgently.
– François Ruffin (@Francois_Ruffin) November 24, 2021
“Horror and dread,” commented the Communist Party candidate for the next presidential election, Fabien Roussel. “How long are we going to accept that men, women and children die before our eyes?” He asked himself, before asserting that France “is no longer itself when it is not” not act for brotherhood and human responses ”.
Horror and dread. How long will we still accept that men, women, children die before our eyes?
France is no longer itself when it does not act for fraternity and human responses.#Calais
– Fabien Roussel (@Fabien_Roussel) November 24, 2021
Another candidate for the 2022 presidential election, the ecologist Yannick Jadot spoke of « terrible news in the Channel », by bringing « everything [son] support for the relatives of the victims, the survivors of the shipwreck, the sailors of the French Navy who carried out this courageous rescue, as well as all the solidarity actors active in the region, at sea and on land. «
Terrible news in the Channel.
All my support to the relatives of the victims, to the survivors of the shipwreck, to the sailors of the @Navy who carried out this courageous rescue, as well as to all the actors of solidarity active in the region, at sea as on land.
– Yannick Jadot (@yjadot) November 24, 2021
The mayor of Paris and PS candidate for the supreme magistracy Anne Hidalgo also called on the authorities « to take their responsibilities and to put an end to the actions of the smugglers ». “We cannot stand idly by. It is time to show humanity at our borders, ”she said indignantly.
This new shipwreck is a tragedy, my thoughts are with the victims. We cannot stand idly by.
It is time to show humanity at our borders. I call on the authorities to take their responsibilities and put an end to the actions of the smugglers. https://t.co/pOnt0t4X1A
– Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) November 24, 2021
Unanimity against smugglers among the candidates for the LR nomination
The candidate for the nomination of The Republicans Valérie Pécresse also targeted the smugglers who « organize these fatal transfers » and « are responsible for this scandalous tragedy ». « They must be relentlessly prosecuted and punished! » She exclaimed on the social network to the blue bird.
Strong emotion for the 30 victims of the sinking of a migrant boat in the #Handle. The smugglers organizing these deadly transfers are responsible for this outrageous tragedy. They must be relentlessly pursued and punished! https://t.co/OwIzLkFZEL
– Valérie Pécresse (@vpecresse) November 24, 2021
His competitor Xavier Bertrand, for his part, expressed his « deep emotion and anger ». « To put an end to these tragedies, we must further strengthen the means to break the networks of smugglers, these criminals who exploit poverty, » he said.
Deep emotion and anger after the sinking of a boat in #Calais. To put an end to these tragedies, we must further strengthen the means to break the networks of smugglers, these criminals who exploit poverty.
– Xavier Bertrand (@xavierbertrand) November 24, 2021
Another candidate for the LR nomination, Michel Barnier spoke on TF1 of a « predictable tragedy », before posting his position: « These men and women, their misery is exploited, we must be ruthless, we need borders that do not not be colanders. We must ask the British to welcome into their homes all these people who want to have the right of asylum at home and not elsewhere, by reforming the Touquet agreements. ”
Eric Ciotti, deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes also candidate for the LR nomination spoke on Twitter of a « abominable drama which must push us to act », before expressing himself in these terms: « The smugglers and their accomplices have an overwhelming responsibility. France and Europe do not have the means to integrate this massive irregular immigration, it must be stopped. To say the opposite is to risk lives. ”
France and Europe do not have the means to integrate this massive irregular immigration, it must be stopped.
To say the opposite is to risk lives. Our duty is to deter and clearly stop these flows.
– Eric Ciotti (@ECiotti) November 24, 2021
About fifty demonstrators gathered near the port of Calais
On the evening of November 24, around fifty people gathered near the port of Calais in tribute to the 31 migrants who died in the sinking of their boat. « Calais, inhuman and degrading treatment », « Calais, human rights outraged, broken, martyred », could we read on the signs, as AFP indicates. « Darmanin, murderer, you have blood on your hands », « Shame, Bouchart [la maire de la ville] Calais becomes a hearse ”, also chanted the demonstrators.
« It annoys us to see the politicians say that it is the smugglers’ fault instead of taking their responsibilities for the situation in Calais, » said Clara, one of the demonstrators who lit little candles. « We are there to meditate because we are sad, because we are tired of counting the dead, » she added.
For Lucie, a volunteer in Calais interviewed by AFP, « we should set up a secure passage for these people in England in a controlled manner to prevent even more deaths. » When migrants tell him about their objective to cross the Channel, “we don’t encourage them, we don’t stop them either. It is their choice. We just give them dignity here for the time that remains, ”she explained. “With increasingly high barriers, this drama was to be expected, it’s maddening. They already had no accommodation yesterday and today they are lifeless, ”said Anne, a resident of Calais.
Horrified by the tragedy, many NGOs have also pleaded for a softer asylum policy and the establishment of “safe” routes.