French prosecutors say it “appears” a 16-year-old migrant who drowned in the Channel was actually a 28-year-old man, with relatives saying France had previously rejected an asylum claim by him.
The deputy public prosecutor for Boulogne-sur-Mer, Philippe Sabatier, named the fatality as Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a Sudanese man who had been squatting in the crime-ridden ‘Calais Jungle’ encampment for some two months prior to his ill-fated voyage.
Media reports had previously described the drowned migrant as a 16-year-old child, quoting the French Minister Delegate for Citizenship, Marlene Schiappa, who herself appeared to be going by the age provided to rescuers by another passenger on the boat.
The new age given by Sabatier, citing recovered travel documents, appears to contradict these early reports.
“I don’t know if he had applied for asylum with British authorities, but he appears to have done so with the French authorities,” the prosecutor told the left-wing Independent website.
Relatives have now said that the French “rejected his case”, according to The Times.
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) October 19, 2016
Some politicians in France, who have allowed the migrant boat crisis to flourish by failing to control their own borders, allowing illegal encampments to spring up along their shoreline, and declining to stop and turn back most of the boats they detect after they have put to sea, have blamed Britain for Hamdallah’s drowning.
“How many more tragedies will it take for the British to regain an ounce of humanity?” said Pierre-Henri Dumont, a French National Assembly member representing Calais — seemingly careless of the fact that, according to his relatives, the drowned man had already been rejected for asylum by France.
How Dumont expects the British to prevent drownings in the English Channel short of laying on free ferries and flights for anyone wishing to settle in Britain is not entirely clear, as only the French could effectively put an end to the possibility of drownings by preventing departures.
Dumont suggested that the “inability to apply for asylum in Britain without being physically present is causing these tragedies” — although it is not clear how this would help the situation either, as migrants in France — a safe, first world EU member-state — would in almost all cases be deemed to be not legitimate refugees, with the appeal of illegal Channel crossings being that the British authorities are extremely ineffective at deporting migrants whose asylum claims have no merit.
Certainly the French themselves had already ruled that Hamdallah was not a genuine refugee.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 31, 2016
Britain did take hundreds of supposed child migrants from France in 2016, after pressure from campaigners such as Lord Dubs, who compared them to the Jewish children spirited out of Germany and parts of Europe prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The scheme was halted when it became apparent that the migrants arriving under the Dubs programme were largely young men claiming to be around 16 or 17, not small children — with some closer in appearance to men in their late thirties than teenagers.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 8, 2017