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Press Release

IRC offers profound sympathy to families of those who lost their lives in the Channel; and calls for urgent change in approach

The IRC is appalled and devastated that at least 27 people - men, women and children - lost their lives in the Channel yesterday.

The IRC is calling for an urgent change in approach. Politicians must stop turning human tragedy into political point scoring. It is time to move away from the model of deterrence, which has already caused untold human misery, and towards cooperation between European countries. 

The numbers of people seeking safety are entirely manageable for a rich and stable continent like Europe, and all countries must live up to their global responsibilities to protect refugees and uphold the right to asylum. People seeking safety should not be forced to make life-threatening journeys in order to seek asylum, which is why safe and legal routes must be urgently established.

Laura Kyrke-Smith, IRC UK Executive Director, said,

“At the International Rescue Committee, our hearts are breaking to learn that yet more people, including two children, have died as they try to seek safety. These aren’t pawns in a political game; they’re people like you and me and their deaths were preventable. We ask this Government to ensure, urgently, that people in need can reach the UK safely, and to invest in the asylum system so that all claims are heard quickly and fairly.”


About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.