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Twitter storm calls for safe passage to Europe for refugees

November 27, 2020 at 10:59 am

Tear gas fills the air as French police face off with demonstrators in the camp “jungle” where migrants live in Calais, France, October 1, 2016. [Reuters/Pascal Rossignol]

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) launched a Twitter storm on Wednesday to raise awareness of the dangerous journey made by refugees to reach safety in Europe with the hashtag #SafePassageNow.

The project, known as “deadly crossings”, aimed to humanise the refugees and migrants who have been victims of border-related violence, and go behind the statistics and ‘facts’.

IRR also hoped to raise awareness about the 300 border-related deaths between the UK and France since 1999.

High profile figures got involved, such as author Alan Gibbons, and UK MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Others called on governments to rethink their harsh immigration policies, pointing out that they only serve to harm migrants and enrich the smugglers the governments claim to be cracking down on.


Others took the opportunity to tell the stories of the families and people who have suffered and died due to the lack of protection given to migrants fleeing to the UK.



The IRR said that deaths at the UK borders have received far less attention than those in the Mediterranean.

Maël Galisson of Gisti, a legal service for asylum seekers in France, said: “This report is about challenging the idea that this massacre is the result of misfortune. Reducing these tragedies to accidents or framing them in terms of violence occurring between migrants, as we often see in the media, is a way of concealing the responsibility of public authorities for a situation that has lasted for more than twenty years.”

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has been criticised for her harsh border policy and recently faced ridicule for suggesting that boats of refugees may be deterred if wave machines were installed in the English channel, and proposed that nets be used to prevent refugees from reaching mainland Britain.

READ: Children dying in the English Channel should be a wake-up call for Westminster