Migrant found dead on beach near French port of Calais

Migrant found dead on beach near French port of Calais

The body of a woman migrant was found on a beach near the French port city of Calais on Tuesday, aid groups and a source familiar with the case said.

She was discovered on the shore at Bleriot-Plage, following a night when French maritime authorities reported multiple attempts to cross the Channel to Britain in favourable weather.

“There was a big ‘weather window’ for crossings last night, which created a lot of tension and fights” on the coast, said Nikolai Posner, a manager at aid group Utopia 56.

He said their emergency hotline for migrants on the northern coast had received “many calls” overnight.

Utopia 56 sent AFP a video showing a brown-haired woman in jeans and trainers lying by the water, surrounded by several people including at least one wearing a life jacket.

The group said it had first received the video at 5:30 am (0330 GMT).

Tuesday’s death is the first since six Afghans aged between 21 and 34 died on August 12 when their boat sank.

“Small boat” crossings by migrants — sometimes at the cost of their lives — are a persistent political headache for Britain’s governing Conservative party and a bone of contention with France.

Almost 24,000 people have made the trip across the sea between France and Britain this year.

November 2021 brought the route’s deadliest disaster, when at least 27 people drowned in one wreck, prompting a stepping-up of patrols along France’s northern coast.

Controversial proposals from London to tackle the issue include criminalising irregular migration and sending failed asylum seekers for resettlement in Rwanda.

UK interior minister Suella Braverman was on Tuesday expected to call for changes to the United Nations Refugee Convention to limit access to asylum.

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