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Sudanese migrant Abdulfatah Hamdallah’s family blame French for refusing his asylum bid

The family of a migrant who tragically drowned while crossing the Channel have blamed French authorities – after they rejected his asylum claim.

Abdulfatah Hamdallah, who relatives say was 22, only made the desperate attempt to cross the Channel to Britain because he was turned down by France.

He died after the 3ft dinghy he and a friend were in was punctured by the shovels they were using as oars.

His friend somehow survived. But Mr Hamdallah, from Sudan, could not swim and his body was later found washed up on a beach at Sangatte.

Hamdallah’s second cousin, Al-Noor Mohammed said: ‘We grew up together in Sudan, and he only took this boat because of the French authorities who didn’t believe him. 

‘The last time I saw him was on Tuesday night. He was on a bicycle and told me that he may not be able to see me again. I didn’t believe him, but he said: ‘I will see you at the other side’ which is the UK.’

His older brother, Al-Fatih Hamdallah, speaking from Tripoli, Libya, said he had left three years ago to travel to Italy and later France.

He said: ‘In France, they rejected his case so he decided to leave to the UK. He had been living in France for the last three years. He wanted to have a better life from the horror we used to live in, but what happened has happened.

‘When I went to Sudan to see my family, he left Libya without telling me that he was going to cross the sea to Europe.

‘I was speaking to him just three days ago on the phone but he never told me that he would try to cross the sea again.’

He told the Guardian they were now dealing with the fact they would have to have him buried in Europe.

The brother added: ‘We are four siblings working now in Libya to send some money to our children back home.

‘We had to leave because the situation in Sudan is so tough.

‘We will ask Al-Noor to let him be buried in the Islamic way in France because sending him back to Sudan might take up to three months.’

Friends at a makeshift camp he stayed at in Calais have shared images of the former student with the Mail in the hope of highlighting the human cost of the crossings crisis.

They revealed the tragedy unfolded nearly a mile out to sea after the pair set off in their dinghy, which they stole from a shack, at about 1am on Wednesday. Gamr Alsha, 18, told how he set off alongside Mr Hamdallah, also known as Wajdi, in a different, more sturdy and bigger boat which was carrying eight people.

But as both vessels got nearly a mile out to sea, Mr Hamdallah’s dinghy burst when he and his friend rotated their makeshift oars backwards.

Mr Alsha said: ‘As they put the spade in a motion to sweep the water behind them, the edge of it cut into the dinghy. He tried to clutch on to the boat but he couldn’t make it.

‘We lost him quickly. The water was quite still, but it was dark.

‘At that point we didn’t want to continue. We turned our own boat back to the beach to get help but the police and lifeguards could not find him. They used torches but he was gone. Then they found him on the beach [seven hours later] in the morning.

‘Before the boat sank he was happy, saying ”I want to arrive in England”.

‘Wajdi said he had a bad life in Sudan. He said there were lots of problems.

‘He tried to reach England by boat two times before. I have tried four times.’

Asked if his friend’s death would deter him from trying to reach Britain, he added: ‘If I found a boat again or had a chance to get to the UK, I would.

‘It’s a bad life in France. It’s my dream to get to the UK. In the UK I will find my life. Since I was small I wanted to go to England. In Sudan there are too many problems. What else am I going to do? If I was back in Sudan I would be dead by now.’ 

Friends also told how Mr Hamdallah fled his home near Darfur in the Sudan, in 2018 as a result of the civil war there.

He is said to have spent many months in a migrant camp in Libya after travelling north through Africa. Mr Hamdallah then made it to Italy last year after crossing the Mediterranean by boat before marching through the Alps into France.

He spent some months in Paris and Nantes and reached Calais between two and four months ago, friends said.

Initially, France’s citizenship minister said he was 16 years old. But authorities yesterday said he was in fact 28 after identity documents they found suggested he was much older. 

A French official confirmed his name was Abdulfatah Hamdallah, but friends said he was also known as Wajdi Hamdallah Hammad. 

Tributes continued to pour in on his Facebook profile yesterday. 

French prosecutor Philippe Sabatier also confirmed the authorities did not believe the fatal attempted crossing was orchestrated by smugglers.  

He said: ‘No link has been established between them and any people smuggling network in the sense that their attempted crossing corresponds to a personal initiative.’

The friend of Mr Hamdallah’s who survived is in the care of French social services. 

Several migrants languishing in camps in Calais yesterday told the Mail how more are attempting Channel crossings because security has been tightened at ports where people used to stow away on cars and lorries. 

Many don’t have the money demanded by ruthless traffickers for more seaworthy boats and are increasingly risking the perilous journey across the world’s busiest shipping lane in ramshackle vessels.

These can be dinghies or even kayaks, either bought cheaply from local stores or stolen. 

Ahmad Ali, 17, who sleeps in a tent at a camp among scrublands and trees on the outskirts of Calais, where Mr Hamdallah also stayed, said: ‘Wajdi was a nice man. It’s very sad and very tragic. People try many, many times here to get to England. 

‘I tried to get into a car, but this is more difficult now so many people try by boat.’ Jhad Mohammad, 22, said: ‘People here want to try and get to England.

‘Hiding in a car has become more difficult. They’ll search more in the port here so there is no chance. People are trying by dinghy or other things.’

Zuma Ali, 17, said: ‘People want to get to the UK. France isn’t any good. If you stay in France you can’t get a house, you can’t get much food. Everybody in the camps here is sad. It is our dream to go to England.’

The tragedy has sparked a major row over the Government’s handling of the crisis, which has seen record numbers cross the Channel in small boats this year.

Almost 5,000 migrants have made the 21-mile crossing in small craft, compared with just 1,850 during the whole of last year.

Natalie Elphicke, the MP for Dover, said that the death was a wake-up call and that more needed to be done to curb the attempted crossings.

She told the Mail: ‘That this young man from Sudan who cannot swim drowns in the English Channel, having been safe on land in numerous countries, including France, shows that the current international asylum conventions are not working and are failing people in need.

‘We must urgently put a stop to the crossings, the Calais migrant magnet, and tackle the people traffickers who lie at the heart of this crisis, before any more lives are lost attempting this perilous crossing.’ 

Tim Loughton MP, who sits on the parliamentary home affairs committee, told the Mail: ‘This is a really tragic case, but with the numbers currently trying to get across such a busy and dangerous shipping lane it is a miracle that there have not been more casualties.

‘Alas this trade in human misery will go on until the French acknowledge that the only way to halt it is by making it a sure thing that any boats in the water will be turned round and the passengers landed back in France.

‘It beggars belief that French politicians are trying to dump the blame on Britain when the real lack of humanity comes from a government which continues to allow people to risk their lives in this way and – incredibly – fails to take responsibility for very vulnerable children at large around Calais. Trying to make a French problem a British problem does not solve the problem and helps no one.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to make the Channel crossings ‘unviable’.

Yesterday Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office’s newly appointed Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, was back in France to continue discussions with officials in Paris and Calais in a bid to tackle the crisis.

It has been revealed Mr Hamdallah had been playing football with fellow migrants in a field only 48 hours before his fateful attempt to cross the English Channel – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. 

Friends at a makeshift camp he stayed at in Calais have shared images of the former student with MailOnline in the hope of highlighting the human cost of the crossings crisis.

The friends said he dreamed, like them, of reaching England and obtaining acceptance in contrast to what they said was hostility in France. 

In a tribute on Thursday, one friend said on Facebook: ‘There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, whoever is on the van, and remains the face of your Lord, the glory and dignity, has passed away to the mercy of Allah, my dear friend in the state of France Abdel Fattah, praise be to Allah

‘We ask God for mercy and forgiveness, Lord.’ 

Another friend told MailOnline: ‘Inshallah his should rest in heaven.’  

There had been widespread speculation – notably by government ministers on both sides of the English Channel – that the so far unidentified asylum seeker was a 16-year-old-boy, but this was not the case.

A Sudanese driving licence showing a date of birth of 1992 and including a photo was found on the deceased man.  

‘His travelling companion was a teenager who survived,’ said Philippe Sabatier, the deputy prosecutor of Boulogne-sur-Mer, as a criminal enquiry is opened into the tragedy. 

It follows figures revealing 164 migrants in 11 boats reached the UK after making the perilous Channel crossing, meaning nearly 5,000 have arrived so far this year.

The surviving 16-year-old had initially indicated that his missing companion was the same age, following the tragedy, said Mr Sabatier.

The teenager is now in the care of French social services an an autopsy is being carried out on the body of his friend, he added.

Mr Sabatier also said the pair were living in the Calais Jungle migrant camp before trying to reach the UK.

He told The Independent: ‘I don’t know if he had applied for asylum with British authorities, but he appears to have done so with the French authorities.’

One Sudan refugee who knew him said: ‘Abdul had been sleeping rough as the camps where he was living were regularly dismantled by the French’.

‘Recently he was living in a camp near the old Jungle refugee site. We are praying for him. Inshallah his soul should rest in heaven. He did not deserve to die like this. We will pray for him today and always.

‘We have no future here. We have no lives. All we do is sit on the ground and sleep on it all day. Nobody cares for us.

‘I hope that England will give us papers one day and allow us there. The French don’t want us and that is why Abdul went to England.’ 

Mr Sabatier earlier said the surviving migrant admitted they had attempted the crossing on a ‘small inflatable dinghy’ which they had stolen from a beach hut.

He added that the pair fell into the water after one of them punctured the inflatable craft with one of the spades they were using as oars.  

Mr Sabatier said: ‘The surviving migrant who accompanied him said that they had attempted the Channel crossing on board a small inflatable dinghy which they had stolen from a beach hut. 

‘They had also equipped themselves with spades as oars. One of them accidentally punctured the craft with a spade and the two men fell into the water. Only the one who could swim managed to survive.’

The Bishop of Dover has called on the Government to ‘take a lead’ in dealing with the global issues that drive migrants to risk their lives on unsafe journeys. 

Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin said politicians are often ‘playing to the gallery’, and she issued a plea for compassion. 

Ms Hudson-Wilkin, the Church of England’s first black female bishop, told BBC Breakfast: ‘We need to try and understand what is happening, why people are fleeing from their countries, why are people taking such unsafe routes in order to get to the UK or to get to Europe.

‘We need to not just, every time there’s a boat, throw our arms up and think ‘panic, panic, let’s do something about it, let’s build walls, let’s put the Border Force out’.

‘We need more long-term planning and thinking.

‘We know the kind of hostility that those who are seeking a safe haven face, and actually politicians are often responding or playing to the gallery, so we as a community, we as British people, we must be very, very clear to all our politicians that we don’t want the kind of knee-jerk reaction or language to pacify a particular group of people, we must be compassionate. 

‘What I want our Government to do is to take a lead with other governments around the world and to begin to look long-term as to what are some of the things that we can do to stop the flow.’

She earlier said: ‘How much worse does this have to get.

‘We cannot let his death pass by unremarked. This appalling tragedy should be a wake-up call to all of us. We cannot stand by any longer while bodies wash up on the shores.’ 

Pierre-Henri Dumont, the MP for Calais, stoked up cross-Channel tensions by claiming Britain’s asylum policy was to blame. 

He said: ‘What we all feared happened that night. How many more dramas will it take for the British to regain an ounce of humanity? The inability to apply for asylum in Great Britain without being physically present is causing these tragedies.’ 

However, the Tory MP Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, claimed the ‘lack of humanity’ lay with the French for letting migrants attempt to cross the Channel. 

‘It is appalling that the French are allowing people to endanger their lives,’ he told Channel 4 News. ‘That is where the lack of humanity is I’m afraid.’ 

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the death as ‘upsetting and tragic’ and blasted the criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit those trying to reach the UK. 

Wednesday’s crossings take the year’s total to 4,986 – while a vessel carrying around 12 people has been picked up off the Kent coast today.

Among Wednesday’s incidents was a boat carrying a group of refugees that got into difficulty in the Dover Strait – the world’s busiest shipping lane – shortly before 4pm, sparking a search and rescue operation.

But it was called off after those who were on the boat were found safe on the shore.

The Home Office has not released any details about the migrants’ genders, nationalities or ages.

‘This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people,’ Ms Patel added.  

But she faced criticism from a string of Labour politicians, including Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, who accused her of ‘lacking compassion and competence’. 

The young Sudanese migrant who died set off from Sangatte shortly after midnight and was attempting to cross the busiest shipping lane in the world with a friend in a blow-up toy dinghy commonly found in supermarkets. 

A night fisherman on the shoreline spotted the boat sinking and immediately called the emergency services. The victim is understood to be the first to die while trying to cross the Channel in a small boat this year. 

His friend was being treated in a Calais hospital for shock and hypothermia. Citizenship minister Marlene Schiappa said the death highlighted the need to tackle the smugglers.  

Philippe Sabatier, the deputy prosecutor in Boulogne, announced that a criminal inquiry had been opened. His office will examine whether a trafficking gang was linked to the tragic attempt to cross the Channel.  

Mr Sabatier said the survivor was ‘in a state of shock, and being treated in Calais hospital’. The remains of the boat were later found on the beach, along with a mobile phone, documents and a shovel. 

Charles Devos, skipper of the Notre-Dame du Risban rescue boat, said: ‘It would have been impossible to make the crossing. And with the ferries passing at 22 knots, the rolls that occur after it left would have overturned the boat.

‘Without an engine, therefore, and builders’ shovels for oars, reaching British waters to be rescued by the Border Force would have been a miracle.’ 

Clare Moseley, founder of migrant charity Care4Calais, said the young man ‘did not deserve to die alone at sea’. 

‘We are absolutely devastated by the unnecessary death,’ she said. ‘We can only imagine the fear he felt and our hearts go out to his family. This death starkly demonstrates the total failure of our government to do anything to help those who are in such desperate straits. 

‘We need a way for people’s asylum claims to be fairly heard without them having to risk their lives. We need this before someone else dies.’ 

Former Royal Marine Dan O’Mahoney, who is leading Britain’s response to the illegal crossings, is expected to return to France to continue searching for a solution to the crisis. 

Dozens more migrants are believed to have arrived in the UK on Wednesday but the Home Office has yet to provide any details.

Border Force and French authorities are active in the English Channel again today, with wind speeds expected to be lower than yesterday.

Paris has demanded £30million from the UK Government to bolster its Channel patrols, but Mrs Patel said any such funds are conditional on France taking back some of the migrants. 

Almost 5,000 migrants have made the 21-mile crossing this year in small boats compared with just 1,850 during the whole of last year. Campaigners estimated this year’s total could reach at least 8,000. Around 1,400 have reached Britain in August. 

A Home Office spokesperson said claims Ms Patel’s policies were responsible for the death were ‘utterly baseless’.

‘The UK has a long and proud history welcoming those in need and escaping persecution and resettles more refugees than any other country in Europe. 

‘There are safe routes to claiming asylum for those in need and since 2015, we have resettled more than 25,000 refugees, around half of whom were children.’

A spokesman for France’s Maritime Prefecture that covers the English Channel and North Sea said the pair had been in a ‘makeshift boat.’ 

A statement said: ‘According to his initial statements, the survivor said he was accompanied on a makeshift boat, that they capsized and that his companion was still in the water. He also specified that his companion could not swim.’

A search and rescue operation was launched but called off at 4.39am after Mr Hamdallah could not be found.

On Tuesday, Sudanese national Altaib Mobarak, 43, was jailed for two years for smuggling himself and nine others – including two children – into Britain by boat.

He was at the helm of a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) which dodged a French coastguard vessel and made it to British waters on July 7.

Mobarak’s boat was picked up by Border Force officers who took the group of Sudanese and Yemeni nationals into Dover.

In an interview, he admitted driving the RHIB. He was locked up at Canterbury Crown Court, Kent, after pleading guilty to facilitating illegal entry into the UK. 

The Home Office’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander and former Royal Marine Dan O’Mahoney said: ‘People should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter and those attempting to cross the Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, in unsuitable boats and without appropriate maritime skills are putting at risk the lives of all those on board.

‘It is of particular concern when, as was the case here, vulnerable children are involved.

‘It is precisely because of this risk to life – a reality that we have seen confirmed in yesterday’s tragic incident – that we are determined to put a stop to these dangerous crossings.’

It was also revealed this week that gangs offer gold, silver and bronze standard packages, with those opting for the cheaper crossing crammed in rickety crafts and even given shovels as paddles. 

Earlier this month, the Home Office asked the Ministry of Defence for the Royal Navy to assist with stemming the flow of migrants. 

There are no plans for ships to be used, but aircraft and surveillance will be deployed to help the under-strain Border Force.  

A large search and rescue operation was launched but called off at 4.39am after Mr Hamdallah could not be found.  

It comes after Ms Patel demanded the French do more to make the route ‘unviable’, while Calais officials have blamed Britain for the crisis. 

The body of the teenager was found after it was spotted by morning dog walkers, said a source working for the emergency services in Calais.

A Calais emergency services source said: ‘Police and paramedics attended the scene, and efforts were made on the beach in Sangatte to try and revive the victim.

‘Papers were found on him which showed he was a Sudanese man, aged sixteen. He disappeared overnight on Tuesday while trying to get to England.

‘The victim’s body was taken away, and will be subject to an autopsy. Efforts will also be made to contact next of kin.’

The source said that a couple with a six-year-old child and an 18-month-old baby were among those who had been rescued in the Channel by the French emergency services on Sunday in a kayak. 

Immigration minister Chris Philp said: ‘This awful tragedy near Calais shows how dangerous this migration route is.

‘We will redouble our work to agree and implement a new plan with France with the aim of completely stopping these boat crossings, which are facilitated by ruthless criminals and which risk lives’ 

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘I have been warning for months about the risk of further loss of life from dangerous journeys across the English Channel.

‘This latest death in the Channel is both shocking and sad.

‘It underlines that it is essential to bring an urgent end to these perilous small boat crossings.’

Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, criticised Ms Patel.

She said: ‘It is devastating to learn that a child has now died in the Channel while trying to seek safety in the UK. This is a horrifying but wholly expected death.

‘We have repeatedly warned Priti Patel it was only a matter of time before her toxic policy to deny safe and legal routes to the UK would cost lives.

‘This death lies firmly at her door. She should consider her position.’

British Red Cross CEO, Mike Adamson, said: ‘The loss of this young life is an unnecessary tragedy, and we’re devastated to hear this news. Saving lives should be the absolute priority in any response or policies on Channel crossings. 

‘It’s unacceptable in any circumstances that people feel they have no choice but to make dangerous journeys in their search for protection.

‘There are no easy answers but at the heart of the response must be the preservation of life. 

‘At a time when more than one percent of the world’s population has been displaced, we need countries to work together to provide the best humanitarian outcome that prevent these tragedies.’

Kent Refugee Action Network earlier issued a statement saying: ‘We are devastated to learn of the death of a 16 year old boy in Sangatte.

‘This death was completely avoidable. Along with many other migrant and refugee organisations we have been calling for safe passage for some time now.

‘Meanwhile the government’s response has been both chaotic and callous, and utterly against the proud British tradition of offering refuge to those in need.

‘The government needs to step up to its humanitarian responsibility immediately and ensure safe and legal passage so that we avoid any more unnecessary deaths.’

Retired Coastguard officer Andy Roberts, 71, warned there could be more tragedies like this.

He said: ‘This is an absolute tragedy. This shows the danger in attempting these crossings, especially in these extremely unsuitable craft by people with no knowledge of the sea.

‘If these crossings continue, then there will be greater tragedies in the near future. Soon there’s going to be 10, 12, 15 people whose boat capsizes and they die.

‘Even if they’re wearing life jackets, they’d only have a survival time of around an hour out at sea unless they were spotted and rescued because of the fear, panic and cold would hit them.

‘They may well be trying to get over before the weather deteriorates, which is forecast in the next week.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has responded to the death of Mr Hamdallah in the Channel, calling it a ‘tragedy’.

He said: ‘This is a humanitarian crisis that needs a compassionate response.

‘Nick Thomas-Symonds wrote to the Home Secretary last week to demand an urgent change in approach from the Government.’

Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds slammed the government over the death.

He said: ‘The news of the death of a 16-year-old boy in the Channel is heartbreaking and our thoughts are with his loved ones.

‘The Government’s response to the situation in the Channel has been lacking in compassion and competence.

‘Ministers urgently need to step up work with international partners to find a humanitarian solution to this crisis, which is costing lives.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said on Twitter of the 16-year-old’s death: ‘Utterly heartbreaking. By closing safe routes to seek asylum we are pushing desperate people into dangerous situations with devastating consequences.

‘Our Govt must make protecting and saving lives a priority in their approach to English Channel crossings.’

The tragedy is believed to be first known migrant death this year despite more than 4,800 making the treacherous crossing. 

Last August, two people died trying to reach Britain – one of them an Iranian woman who fell overboard and whose body was found in Dutch waters weeks later.

And a 48-year-old Iraqi man was found dead in Belgian waters after he tried to swim to the UK using plastic bottles as a makeshift life jacket. 

France and Britain are set to outline a plan of action which is expected to see France paying £30m to strengthen security in the English Channel.

While the British government has continually accused the French of not doing enough to intercept small boats packed with migrants, the French believe the real problems are in the UK.

Philippe Mignonet, the deputy mayor of Calais, said last week: ‘Yes, I fear a tragedy one day at sea, but the British blame us for their own hypocrisy.

‘The migrants go to Great Britain because they can work in the black economy when they want, because there is no control, not on the street or in the workplace.’

Mr Mignonet’s words were backed up by Bernard Barron, president of the SNSM sea rescue service in Calais.

Mr Barron said: ‘The British criticise migrants for wanting to come but they do not criticise themselves, questioning the reasons that make their country so attractive.

‘The SNSM now observes that the candidates for exile have mastered the sea and, with GPS support, wait until they are in British waters to send out an SOS call.’ 

Ms Patel earlier warned France the UK will not cough up millions of pounds for anti-migrant patrols unless it agrees to take back more refugees as she prepares sweeping changes to the ‘broken’ immigration system.

The Home Secretary told Tory MPs that she was preparing legal changes that would ‘send the left into meltdown’.

In a Zoom call with hardline backbenchers she suggested that the system was being ‘exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers’ who were doing everything they could to stop the Government removing people.

And she said that France’s demand for £30million to fund Channel patrols and surveillance would be dependent on it taking in more of those seeking to get to the UK, the Times reported.  

Recent reports have revealed how traffickers take advantage of vulnerable asylum seekers desperately fleeing their homelands by offering a paid-for arrangement at a camp in Calais.

The most expensive package, gold, costs £10,000 and means you get a larger boat with better conditions, less other people and lifejackets, as reported by The Sun. 

One migrant who was hoping to make the journey in the next few days told the newspaper: ‘The prices vary. It depends on the size of the boat and how many people are inside.

‘People come around offering the crossings. We pay and keep in touch. They tell us when and where to go and pick us up.

‘I’m looking forward to it. Britain is like heaven to me!’  

The silver package costs between £3,000 and £5,000, and means you get a worse boat. And the lowest package, bronze, means you pay a prize of £1,000 or less and are often crammed onto a stolen boat. 

So far this year, at least 4,822 migrants have reached Britain by boat. 

On Sunday, a migrant in his 20s was attacked by a thug who saw him land on the beach at Kingsdown near Deal, Kent. 

It emerged earlier in the week that any new, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children would be left with Border Force after Kent County Council announced it had reached capacity.

Charities say the situation is a ‘scandal’ and a ‘political failure’, calling on the Government to urgently find a way forward.

The Calais Jungle migrant camp is filled with hundreds who have already been told they cannot stay in the EU, it has been claimed. 

Tony Smith, the former director general of the Border Force, has said that officials are seeing the ‘same faces’ among those attempting to make the crossing from Calais to the UK.

It comes as it was revealed that the majority of migrants using one of the most common sea routes into Europe are not in need of ‘international protection’, according to a UN report.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees found that more than 70 per cent of migrants crossing from Libya to Europe are unlikely to qualify for asylum when they arrive. 

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR special envoy for the region, also admitted that a ‘fair and equitable return mechanism’ must be put in place.

If it is not, then ‘the entire asylum system will be called into question’.

Of the 41,129 migrants who have come to Europe this year, 18.3 per cent are from Tunisia, while 10.3 per cent are from Algeria.  

According to the UNHCR report, migrants who travelled from Libya to Italy and Malta made up 68 per cent of arrivals to Europe via the Central Mediterranean between January and May.

Around 8,600 people have departed from the North African country by sea, with Bangladeshis, Sudanese and Somalis the most common nationalities making the crossing.

The report reads: ‘As of the end of May, an estimated 28% of the people who had crossed the sea from Libya are likely to be in need of international protection.’

The vast majority of those attempting to reach Britain from Calais have travelled over land through the EU, experts say.

The news comes amid an increase in migrant crossings in the UK, with a record number attempting to come over in small boats from Calais.   

Former Border Force director general Tony Smith told the Telegraph: ‘A lot of people who are in Calais have already been told that they cannot stay in the EU, some of them have been refused in a couple of different countries, but they don’t want to go back.

‘The French can’t remove them so they are just their names and details and telling them to stop trying to break the law.’

Mr Smith now chairs an international border association including the UK border force.

He said that smugglers have the ‘upper hand’ and it will encourage more people to travel to northern France to ‘try their luck’ as the smugglers have found ‘a gap in our defences’.

He also insisted migrants crossings were an international issue and called on assistance and action from the French.  

He added: ‘We must put the smugglers out of business. These are busy shipping lanes, the boats could get run over by a ferry without even knowing it, and babies drowning in the Channel is not what anyone wants to see.

‘There is a real reason for stopping this no matter what your opinion on asylum is, this is a matter of life of death. These are human beings and these organised criminal gangs do not care if they survive or not.’ 

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