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66 asylum seekers picked up in the Channel

Irregular migrants are seen as they wait in a line to receive food aid in Calais, France on February 25, 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
Irregular migrants are seen as they wait in a line to receive food aid in Calais, France on February 25, 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

Four small boats carrying 66 asylum seekers have been picked up by the UK Border Force in the English Channel.

A further 22 people were stopped before they left France yesterday.

Britain and France last year signed an agreement to make the route between the two countries "unviable".

The UK Home Secretary has even suggested using wave machines and nets to deter people from reaching mainland Britain.

On 1 January the Home Office said that asylum seekers arriving from the EU or another safe country would not be admitted to Britain.

Liberal Democrat Spokesman Alistair Carmichael said at the time that this is against international law:

"This latest nasty policy from [Home Secretary] Priti Patel goes against our commitments under the refugee convention and against everything the UK stands for. It's yet another breach of international law by this irresponsible Tory government."

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Britain is part of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and to the 1967 Protocol, a section of international law designed to protect refugees.

The Home Office also pledged to enforce deportations of migrants sleeping on the streets.

Migrants at the EuroTunnel - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Migrants at the EuroTunnel – Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Rights groups have consistently called on the government to implement safe passage for people seeking safety in the UK but have had no movement, despite tragedies that have seen babies lost in the treacherous strip of water which connects Britain and France.

Last year, the Institute of Race Relations launched a Twitter storm to raise awareness of the dangerous journey being undertaken by refugees to reach Europe.

Since 1999 there have been 300 border-related deaths between the UK and France.

As border agencies plough ahead with cracking down, refugees are not deterred, they simply make more dangerous journeys to reach safety with smugglers raking in huge profits.

Over twice as many people have tried to make the crossing in 2021 compared to the same period last year with 587 in just over two months and 246 last year.

In 2019 under 2,000 people crossed the Dover Strait, which leaped up to over 8,000 in 2020.

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