THE MILITARY will take charge of the operations targeting refugees and asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in inflatable boats within weeks, the government confirmed yesterday.
This caused outrage amongst campaigners and refugee charities, furious at the prospect of armed navy vessels and battleships taking on flimsy boats of the refugees and forcing them back to France under the Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel’s hated ‘pushback’ policy.
Tory PM Johnson will give the Royal Navy authority over government vessels in the channel.
CEO of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, described the move as ‘cruel and inhumane’.
‘It’s a desperate move by a government that isn’t able to find solutions that will ensure an orderly, manageable and fair asylum system,’ he said.
The Labour Party has also criticised the plans for lacking compassion and being ineffective at discouraging crossings anyway, while human rights lawyers warned they they are unlawful because they ignore Britain’s international obligations.
Meanwhile, charities have slammed a Home Office job advert calling Channel migrants a ‘threat’.
It emerged hours after a desperate refugee family was pictured carrying a young child to safety on a British beach.
The description was published online in the same week that a man in his 20s died making the perilous journey, and two months after 27 people, including five women and a young girl, drowned trying to start a new life in Britain.
The attack on refugees is in a listing on jobs site LinkedIn for a new Home Office Head of Science and Technology.
The role, understood to offer a six-figure salary, involves finding ways to stop migrants crossing the Channel.
It says: ‘The Head of Science and Technology is responsible for: Understanding the Threat’.
Clare Moseley, founder of British charity Care4Calais, said: ‘It is deeply offensive the government thinks of people crossing as a “threat”, after the tragic deaths in the Channel.
‘They are ordinary people who have done nothing more than to be born in the wrong place. We have seen years of government spending millions on security to stop people crossing. Not once has it worked.
‘It’s time to try something new A system to screen those eligible to make an asylum claim and transfer them safely to the UK would put people smugglers out of business and save lives.’
The job advert says the successful applicant must ‘have a clear understanding of the operational challenges that illegal entry, specifically in small boats, presents to operational colleagues’.
And they will also ‘need to use this insight to make effective decisions when procuring technology and systems to mitigate, prevent and respond to illegal migration’.