Home Travel & Adventure France Denies Visas to Family Members of Channel Shipwreck Victims, Drawing Criticism

France Denies Visas to Family Members of Channel Shipwreck Victims, Drawing Criticism


France has reportedly denied visas to four family members of several people who died in a shipwreck in the Channel in November 2021.

The individuals whose visas were refused were invited to testify in a French investigation regarding the shipwreck, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, only Iraqi Kurd Zana Maman Mohamad, who lost a brother in the shipwreck, was permitted to travel to France for the hearing scheduled for December 2023.

Following the Channel shipwreck in November 2021, a total of 27 individuals died, four more people are still missing, and only two survived.

French Authorities Concerned Visas Could Be Used for Immigration Purposes

Matthieu Chirez, the Kurdish lawyer representing Mustafa Mina Nabi, one of the relatives in question, received a letter from the French Ministry of Interior on January 22. According to the French newspaper, the letter stated that his client’s visa request posed a risk of misuse for migration.

Mustafa Mina Nabi’s request presents a risk of misuse of the purpose of the visa for migratory purposes.

French authorities (according to Matthieu Chirez)

However, Chirez explained that Nabi has a young son in Kurdistan and that he would not leave him behind to move to France.

Three other individuals whose visas were refused reportedly received similar reasons for their visa refusals from French authorities. As further reported by Le Monde, the four relatives expressed deep disappointment over the visa rejection.

Meanwhile, the attorneys representing the four relatives consider “injustice” the decision to refuse visas. Among other things, they said the families could share important details about how smugglers contacted the victims.

One of the relatives, named Ismaïl Hamad Khudur, reportedly lost his 19-year-old son in the shipwreck. According to Le Monde, he hoped that he could “help stop the smugglers” by going to the judge.

France Stopped 140 Migrants from Crossing the English Channel Last Month

On February 18, authorities in northern France announced they rescued boats patrolling the area and saved almost 140 individuals attempting to pass the English Channel over that weekend.

During one of these operations, officials rescued five people, including a four-month-old baby, as reported by the Info Migrants.

In the same month, Europol arrested 15 people allegedly involved in migrant smuggling across the English Channel.

As Europol explained, the investigation targeted an Iraqi-Kurdish organisation allegedly smuggling migrants from the Middle East and East Africa to the United Kingdom through France.

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