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Migrants risking their lives at sea Migrants risking their lives at sea  (AFP or licensors)

UK Bishop urges UK and France to address migrant channel crossings

Bishop Paul Aleenan is urging both the UK and French governments to address underlying reasons why people risk their lives crossing the English Channel

By Vatican News

The Lead Bishop in the UK for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Paul McAleenan, is calling on the British and French governments to collaborate in order to eliminate the underlying reasons that see many migrants risking their lives in an attempt to cross the English Channel to get to Britain.

Recently, the Home Secretary Priti Patel met with her French counterpart, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, to discuss ways to tackle illegally-facilitated Channel crossings by small boats.

As a result, both Minister’s signed a Declaration of Intent.

The document agreed that a Franco-British Operational Research Unit would target the network of criminal gangs behind migrant smuggling.

Bishop McAleenan said in his message released on Tuesday that, “Their focus must be in determining why so many choose to flee their home country and use their influence to eradicate the underlying reasons why these same people are willing to risk their lives in the open sea.”

Bishop McAleenan also underlined that the protection of the vulnerable must be a priority.

“Surely two countries which pride themselves on being progressive and enlightened will see that the welfare of those who are destitute is vital. Protection of people should be foremost in their thinking.”

23 July 2020, 12:00