CNA Staff, Jul 23, 2020 / 06:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
A Catholic bishop has urged the U.K. and France to address the “underlying reasons” for a rise in migrants risking their lives to cross the English Channel.
In a statement issued July 21, Bishop Paul McAleenan said that a new agreement between the two countries should prioritize saving the lives of migrants who attempt the perilous crossing from France to the U.K.
“Their focus must be in determining why so many choose to flee their home country and use their influence to eradicate the underlying reasons why these same people are willing to risk their lives in the open sea,” he said.
Migrants brought ashore by the U.K. Border Force in recent days have fled from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, as well as impoverished nations including Chad, Eritrea, and Sudan. The U.K. Home Office has said that the migrants should claim asylum in the first safe European country they reach, rather than traveling on to the U.K.
McAleenan, the lead bishop for migrants and refugees of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, was responding to a meeting between British Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.