Destitute and Desperate Asylum Seekers and Migrants


Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

25 Nov 2021 – It was with deep sadness that on Wed 23 Nov 2021 the world watched in horror the news that 27 people had drowned in the English Channel when their flimsy dinghy overturned in the sea in an attempted crossing from Calais to Dover. I am sorry and I ask the forgiveness of migrants and refugees who have been forced to flee their lands and seek a place of refuge in any country who would give them a place to lay their heads. I send my condolences to the families at the loss of their beloved ones in a cold watery tragedy far away from their homes.

Over the last twenty years, NATO (led by USA/UK) has cruelly carried out sanctions, wars, invasions and occupations over many countries.  I visited many of these countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria,) and was shocked at the way in which western governments’ policies have made these countries unstable by their foreign policies.

At least 27 migrants drowned crossing the English Channel from France. ABC

Arms manufacturers and dealers ferment violence and wars contributing to geopolitical games which cost the lives of millions displaced and millions dead.   We have witnessed that when guns come into play in any situation, fear sets in and people flee in the thousands to save their lives, their children. We have to STOP the madness of militarism and weapons and end governments’ and elites’ profiting from the arms industry and wars.

Migrants/refugees who come to Europe come to us because we have bombed their countries and there is no hope for them to find jobs and safety there anymore.  Every act has a consequence, and we are now witnessing the results of our governments’ unjust policies that keep destabilizing so many countries.

The militarization of Europe is a waste of peoples’ money and will not provide human security. 

Imposing unilateral sanctions on countries (as I witnessed in Iraq and now in Iran) creates reactive violence and destroys vital infrastructure such as schools, roads, hospitals, life itself.

A more compassionate approach to asylum seekers would be to open safe channels through which they could come into the UK.  Politicians must   be honest and admit, ‘we are where we are,’ and we have a duty to do and to do it with love.  We caused the problems and we have a responsibility to help find solutions that are humane and compassionate.

Many asylum seekers come to the UK because they have relatives in Britain, they can speak English, or they feel links to the UK Commonwealth.  All have brains, courage and hope and will make good contributions wherever they go…. Let’s welcome them and show them our warmheartedness as their brothers and sisters.


Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace, (edited by John Dear with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 29 Nov 2021.

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