Our response to the tragedy in the English Channel - Refugee Council
August 14, 2023

Our response to the tragedy in the English Channel

At least six people died in the early hours of Saturday, August 12th when a small boat carrying over 60 men, women and children seeking safety on our shores capsized in the English Channel.

Responding to this tragic event, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the sinking of a boat in the English Channel this weekend. Our hearts go out to the victims, survivors, and their loved ones. We also thank the rescuers who helped save many lives under harrowing circumstances.

“This heartbreaking incident underscores the need for meaningful action to reduce dangerous Channel crossing. We know that the increasing number of people risking their lives to cross the Channel is a direct consequence of safe routes being so limited and ineffective. But instead of putting in place more safe pathways and treating those seeking refuge with compassion and fairness, the Government is focusing on passing expensive and unworkable legislation and shutting down existing safe ways to get to the UK.

“People flee persecution and violence out of desperation, to find safety and protect their families. The Government must take action now and respond in a compassionate way to prevent future tragedies and protect human life.

“There are constructive alternatives we have set out that would create an orderly and humane asylum system. We stand ready to work with Government to put them in place.”


All those who lost their lives and most of those rescued were from Afghanistan. This is an alarming indication of the Government’s failure to provide sufficient safe routes for Afghans fleeing the Taliban, as we highlighted in our report, ‘What Happened to the Warm Welcome?‘, last week.