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Hours after UK parliament approves Rwanda deportation bill, 5 migrants die in English Channel crossing attempt

Hours after UK parliament approves Rwanda deportation bill, 5 migrants die in English Channel crossing attempt


, Tuesday, 23 April 2024 (16:22 IST)
French media said at least five people died while attempting to cross the English Channel on Tuesday.
The deaths come just hours after UK lawmakers approved a migrant deportation bill to send people who arrive on small boats to Rwanda.
What we know so far
France's Voix du Nord newspaper said the bodies were discovered at the Wimereaux beach on the northern French coast, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Calais. One of the dead was said to be a child.
About 100 migrants were rescued and placed on a French navy ship. The regional newspaper said a search was ongoing and that helicopters and boats had been deployed. 
A French coast guard official said a crowd panic had been the reason for the deaths.
The spokesperson was unable to say how many boats and people could still be in danger.
Rwanda plan passes in parliament
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government succeeded in a vote on Monday to press ahead with sending some migrants on a one-way ticket to Rwanda. Even if they were to succeed in their asylum applications, they would remain in the African country. 
The plan applies to those who enter the country illegally as a deterrent to migrants who use inflatable boats in hopes of claiming asylum in Britain.
It is a response to a UK Supreme Court decision that blocked deportation flights because the government couldn't guarantee that migrants would safe in Rwanda. The new legislation declares Rwanda to be a safe country.
UK Home Secretary James Cleverly, Britain's interior minister, said the government was doing all it could to deter people from making the dangerous crossings in response to the deaths. 
"These tragedies have to stop," Cleverly said on X. "I will not accept a status quo which costs so many lives."
Europe's highest rights body said the legislation raised "major issues" over migrants' rights and the rule of law in Britain.
"The United Kingdom government should refrain from removing people under the Rwanda policy and reverse the bill's effective infringement of judicial independence," said the Council of Europe's (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Michael O'Flaherty...


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