Church leaders' statement on child refugees

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland and Honor Hania, chair, Commission for Justice and Peace, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland have released the following statement:

Souad from Syria, taken in the Calais Jungle migrant camp in January 2016.
Souad from Syria, taken in the Calais Jungle migrant camp in January 2016.

“We were shocked and disappointed to learn that the UK Government intends to terminate the implementation of Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 – the “Dubs amendment” to resettle unaccompanied asylum seeking children from Europe. To have stopped this programme at fewer than 12% of the original commitment of 3,000 children is reprehensible.

“The UK Government statement said that it had consulted with local authorities about capacity; churches were not consulted by the Home Office. Church and community groups in the City of Glasgow have only recently begun a consultation process about how volunteers might assist in the programme of supporting child refugees.

“We are aware that many of these children have disappeared and their situation is complex. But it is hard to think of anyone more vulnerable. A decision to end the Dubs resettlement now is premature and lacks both compassion and ambition.

“We urge UK Government ministers to reconsider and we remain willing to work with the Home Office to find creative ways to deliver on the widespread expectation on the part of the general public to achieve the goal of 3,000 children as soon as possible.

“As Christians we believe that there is a moral imperative to ‘love our neighbour’, where our neighbour is illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Extraordinary times require extraordinary responses, and that when someone is in need they are our neighbour, regardless of race, nationality, religion, language or culture.”