The South Belfast MLA said while asylum is a human right, the lack of safe routes is killing people.
“We must do everything possible to prevent the loss of life – as a humanitarian imperative, as well as a moral and legal obligation,” she said.
“The Sunak Government had a chance to change the UK’s broken, callous immigration system. It had a chance to end the dog whistles and blatant lies around asylum and migration. Instead, this week they announced plans to tackle ‘illegal’ immigration and have decided to double down to divide and distract from their own failings.
“Thousands of people have died and thousands more have disappeared on our shores. Behind each number is a human being – a sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father. This Tory Government should hang it’s head in shame.
“Migrant rights are human rights. They must be respected without discrimination, irrespective of whether their movement is forced, voluntary, or formally authorised. We must expand and diversify rights-based pathways for migration. And we need greater international support for investments in countries of origin to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity.
“Today, on International Migrants Day, and every day, let us work to secure the rights and dignity of all.”