Migrants drowned in English Channel Three families demand compensation from

Migrants drowned in English Channel: Three families demand compensation from France for inaction

Three families of migrants who died trying to cross the English Channel in 2021 have filed a claim for compensation with the French authorities, denouncing “unlawful inaction” in the shipwreck, AFP learned on Tuesday from their lawyers and associations who they supported.

Those families hail from Iraq, Iran and Ethiopia, AFP told exile aid association Utopia 56, which was also a party to that “previous claim for compensation,” more than a year later when a boat sank, killing at least 27 people – mainly Iraqi Kurds – on November 24, 2021 between France and the United Kingdom, the worst migration drama ever recorded in the English Channel.

The request was approved on Monday by the three families Utopia 56 and the Human Rights League (LDH) at Matignon, the Home Office, the State Secretariat for the Sea, the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and North Sea (Premar) and Cross, the Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue to “obtain compensation for moral damage,” the associations explain.

Rescuer “Contacted 14 times without triggering a rescue”

The complainants criticize these actors for their “unlawful inaction” and the “failure of the State to meet its obligations in relation to the human and material resources made available to rescue people crossing the English Channel”. Me Emmanuel Daoud, who defends families and associations, estimates that the request for compensation is a “complementary measure” to the criminal proceedings that “could help to reveal the truth in the context of the investigation”.

The first elements of the investigation, opened in Paris and entrusted to the National Jurisdiction for Combating Organized Crime (Junalco), “reveal that cross operators have been contacted by the boat at least 14 times without triggering a rescue operation,” insists Utopia 56.

“The goal is not to make money. Brothers, nephews, wives who lost these families will not return. Rather, it is about drawing the consequences from the deficiencies of the authorities “in the sense of a relief and to make the French state and the various ministries responsible,” added her lawyer.

“If at any point there has been a violation or a mistake, the sanctions will be imposed,” assured Foreign Minister Hervé Berville in November 2022, a year after the sinking. Should they not receive compensation, the amount of which has not been disclosed, the claimants plan to take legal action. In 2021, 52,000 migrants attempted to cross the English Channel to Britain, the Home Office said.