Isai Priya, Socialist Party national committee
When the Channel tragedy news broke, there was widespread disbelief and sadness. 27 people have lost their lives in search of a better life. It has been recorded as the worst migrant tragedy in the Channel. Among the deceased were three children and a pregnant woman.
Only one victim so far, a 24-year-old Kurdish woman, has been identified. She was on her way to being reunited with her fiancé. The other 26 remain unidentified. A father in Iraq is waiting to hear news of his missing wife and two children.
Many of the people that died are from countries that have been torn apart by war, repressive regimes and poverty. These were people who were desperately trying to find somewhere safe to live in the hope that they could have a decent future.
Protests have been taking place in Calais demanding protection for migrants and refugees. Myself and other Socialist Party members have taken part in protests demanding safe and legal routes for refugees, as well as for a fairer immigration process.
We reject the crocodile tears from the capitalist media and those that they represent. The European Parliament held a minute’s silence, and French and British authorities have conducted a rescue operation by air and sea to see if they can find anyone.
Yet these same people have demolished migrant camps and cut funding to rescue operations in the Channel. They have also been blaming migrants and refugees for crossing the channel rather than addressing the issue of why people are risking their lives to make the journey.
And what treatment awaits asylum seekers when they arrive? French and British governments deny asylum seekers the right to work, and force them into unliveable housing conditions. We fight for the right to work in trade union-organised workplaces, and for decent homes. Access to these rights and services for all would cut across right-wing attempts to stir up anti-migrant division.
Under international pressure from the working class and young people demanding safe and legal routes for those claiming asylum in the UK, the Home Office is insisting it is on track to “fix the broken asylum system”. While at the same time, there is pressure on Parliament to pass the Nationality and Borders Bill, which would make it harder for anyone arriving by boat to claim asylum successfully.
The Socialist Party says it’s the capitalist system and its political representatives that are causing the refugee and migrant crisis, and they cannot be trusted to solve it. We need a mass movement for democratic control of the asylum system to establish safe and legal routes for migrants and refugees, and to fight for the resources to ensure a decent standard of living for all.