Our hearts go out to the people who have been attempting to cross the English Channel to seek sanctuary. We remember and honour the lives that have been lost and the families that have been damaged on these journeys. We remember the family who recently died when their boat capsized on 27th October.
This week’s tragedies have brought back traumatic memories for those of us who have made similar journeys. Many of us in the Sisters Not Strangers coalition are women who have experienced persecution, women who have made dangerous journeys to seek a safer life.
We know that no one leaves their lives and communities behind without very strong reasons.
The people crossing the Channel are from some of the most oppressive and poorest countries in the world, among whom are men and women who have fled war or other violence. They want to rebuild their lives and some want to come to the UK to reunite with family members who are already here.
The UK Government should make efforts to understand why people have to make these dangerous journeys.
The hostile asylum policies implemented by the Home Office are jeopardising the safety of people seeking asylum. Restrictive asylum policies do not stop vulnerable people trying to seek sanctuary in the UK. They force people into further danger.
If we are going to prevent further losses of human life, there must be safe and legal passages into the UK and fair treatment of those who arrive on these shores to seek safety.
We, members of the Sisters Not Strangers coalition, are asking the Government for humane procedures, so that traumatised people feeling war, violence and oppression are able to claim asylum.
A kinder, more welcoming world is possible – a world where vulnerable women, men and children aren’t dying or forced to risk their lives while seeking safety.