“We should be assessing people’s need for protection based on their case, not creating a two-tiered system of ‘deserved’ and ‘undeserved’ refugees on the basis of the risks they are forced to take to reach safety,” says Maddie Harris, who helped set up Channel Rescue and works for the Humans for Rights Network.
'Reach safety' from where? Calais?
Who knew there was still a war on over there..?
Joe explains that volunteers “keep an eye on Border Force, to make sure they fulfil their legal duty of providing safety for people trying to cross. We observe through spotting scopes in 15-minute shifts.” If they see a migrant boat in the water, they alert the RNLI or coastguards. If they see Border Force intercepting a migrant boat, they note coordinates, timings, which BF vessels are involved, and any human interaction they can see. Everything is then logged securely, “in case that information is required later, for example, in a court of law”.
Nice of them to collect information for the eventual deportation case, eh?
Currently, due to the pandemic, all the observers live in this corner of the Kent coast, less hardened activists and more concerned local residents. Technical and legal training is provided over Zoom, by activists with expertise in seafaring, first aid and human rights. Each volunteer is also vetted, to mitigate the threat of infiltration, which has already happened.
Heh! By whom? Oh, of course - 'right wingers'.
Charlotte, 40, is a working single parent from Folkestone and has volunteered for Channel Rescue since late 2020. For her, it is as much about bearing witness as accountability. “It’s a local welcome, as well as a British welcome. It counters the local arguments about people arriving. I don’t know whether you are aware of local opinions on social media …”
Let me guess. They aren't 100% supportive of you Open Borders crazies..?
Charlotte describes them best as “a visible unwelcome”. On his public Facebook profile, a local man, for instance, gives daily updates on Border Force activity. A post from 9 January reads: “My count were [sic] up to five boats now so roughly 50 migrants. I’m still out on patrol just in case.” In the comments, frustration is often directed at the home secretary: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THIS PRITI PATHETIC.” The same anti-migrant sentiment is rife on neighbourhood social media pages.
I wonder what they say about this group?
An asylum seeker housed in the area explains how seeing anti-migrant comments online left them feeling. “There are a lot of racist people there, they broke me … now Folkestone is like hell for me.”
Well, the return trip to Calais will be a lot easier, I'm sure. Off you go!