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European summit on Channel refugees asks UK to do more

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

The nations of the English Channel and the European Commission convened in Paris following the deadliest mass drowning on record.

The United Kingdom was excluded, a controversial punishment for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s public tweet asking for joint military patrols and renegotiations of emigration agreements.

At the request of London, for the past three years France has blocked all other routes to the UK leaving dangerous sea crossings the only option. Many say that when it comes to refugees what comes first is political considerations and not humanitarian obligations.

The primary motivation cited by refugees is to be with family members in the United Kingdom, a neo-colonial power. French officials accused the UK of economically profiting off of “quasi-modern slavery” by attracting refugees with the lure of not needing papers to work in the UK.

Despite being militarily involved in many of the world’s top refugee-producing conflicts today, the UK currently hosts around 200,000 of the world’s 84 million refugees. Refugees compose just 0.25% of the UK population, while countries like Iran and Lebanon host well over 1 million asylum-seekers each.

Many note that while Brexit has taken the UK out of the European Union it has not removed its commitments to international law.

France said the easiest solution is for the United Kingdom to widen their legal route for asylum-seekers. Paris has long-offered to allow British immigration officials to process those requests on French soil.

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