After Channel Drownings, France And U.K. Trade Blame And Promises

British and French officials are facing legal action over their “failure to act” when a boat started sinking in the Channel last month, ultimately leading to the deaths of 27 people.

Charity Utopia 56 has accused the British and French coastguards of ‘involuntary manslaughter’ and ‘failure to help people in need’  - PA Wire © PA Wire

Charity Utopia 56 has accused the British and French coastguards of ‘involuntary manslaughter’ and ‘failure to help people in need’

- PA Wire

A charity supporting displaced people in northern France lodged a complaint to the French courts on Friday accusing the director of the UK coastguards, the French maritime chief for the Channel and the director of the French regional coastguard of “involuntary manslaughter” and “failure to help people in need”.

Twenty-seven bodies recovered from the sea when a boat capsized in the waters off Calais on 24 November, among them at least 17 men and seven women – aged between 19 and 46 – and three children.

The Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau confirmed last week that the majority of the deceased were from Iraqi Kurdistan, including a seven-year-old girl, a teenager and four women, while other known victims came from countries including Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and Somalia.

According to testimony from the two only survivors of the tragedy, relatives of deceased people and people who made the crossing on the same day, distress calls were reported to the French and English rescue services before the bodies were discovered, Utopia 56 said.

The charity said it hoped that the charges would trigger investigations that would “shed light on the circumstances of this shipwreck”, adding: “Transparency and truth are due to the victims and their families.”

It said the UK authorities did not appear to have opened any investigation into the incident and that the probe being conducted by the French government “seem[ed] to focus primarily on the role of smugglers”.

“We must learn the lessons and consequences, including on the criminal level of the sinking on 24 November 2021 so that these tragedies do not happen again,” it said in a statement.

Charlotte Kwantes, national coordinator of Utopia 56, said: “As citizens, the only way for us to answer the constant inhuman and unlawful practices of the states over displaced people is to use the law. So we do.”


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    Source : https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/british-and-french-officials-face-legal-action-over-failure-to-act-during-mass-drowning-in-channel/ar-AARZKML

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