The coast of our archdiocese has long been a focus for the arrival of desperate asylum seekers using poorly documented or irregular means of travel to seek safety and build new lives in Britain. Arrivals by coach from central Europe have long been followed by stowaways in and under trains and lorries, and now by the more visible and dangerous use of small boats.
These are our fellow humans, who deserve dignified treatment to assist recovery from trauma, with opportunities to have their claims examined with care, in conformity with established regulations.
Rapid removal to Rwanda could potentially violate basic rights, increase fear and uncertainty and bring down our reputation among other members of the family of nations.
We are pleased to welcome the sensible and considered opinion of the High Court that this policy is unlawful. In operation, contrary to the example of the Good Samaritan, it would devastate the lives of many who are in need.
We pray that reflection upon this situation will promote the development of a fairer and more compassionate asylum system that starts by recognising new arrivals as human persons rather than as problems, and offers an initial welcome and sanctuary until their status is assessed, as many individuals and communities already do, nationwide.
We join Bishop Paul McAleenan in calling for prayer for people on the move, and for our government, that it will respect the Court’s ruling and respond to the needs of migrants and asylum seekers in ways that fully uphold their innate human dignity.
-Southwark Justice and Peace in Creation
Photo: Marcin Mazur