Friday, 13 February 2009

General Synod - Asylum Seekers and Climate Change

The final morning (Friday) of Synod was devoted to two diocesan synod motions.

The first, from Southwell & Nottingham, was about Justice and Asylum Seekers. The Revd Ruth Worsley moved the motion:

That this Synod, continuing to affirm scriptural teaching about care for the vulnerable, welcome for strangers and foreigners, and the Church’s calling to reach out to the marginalized and persecuted, call upon Her Majesty’s Government:
(a) to ensure that the treatment of asylum seekers is just and compassionate, and to that end to consider:
(i) conferring a right to work on all asylum seekers, and
(ii) declaring an amnesty for so called ‘legacy cases’ that predate the Government’s New Asylum Model;
(b) to find a practical and humane remedy to the intolerable situation of destitute ‘refused’ asylum seekers who are unable to return to their country of origin because of personal safety, health or family reasons.

This was amended, by changing some of the wording, and adding (iii) and (c) so that the substantive motion became

That this Synod, continuing to affirm scriptural teaching about care for vulnerable people, welcome for strangers and foreigners, and the Church’s calling to reach out to the marginalized and persecuted, call upon Her Majesty’s Government:
(a) to ensure that the treatment of asylum seekers is just and compassionate, and to that end to:
(i) confer a right to work on all asylum seekers,
(ii) declare an amnesty for so called ‘legacy cases’ that predate the Government’s New Asylum Model, and
(iii) bring to an end the practice of detaining children and families in Immigration Removal Centres;
(b) to find a practical and humane remedy to the intolerable situation of destitute ‘refused’ asylum seekers who are unable to return to their country of origin because of personal safety, health or family reasons;
(c) to investigate and report publicly on the quality of the legal services provided to asylum seekers.

The amended motion was then carried by 242 votes to one against (with one recorded abstention).

The second motion, from Worcester, was about Climate Change and the Church’s Property Transactions and was proposed by the Bishop of Dudley:

That this Synod call on the Archbishops’ Council to conduct an urgent review of the Endowments and Glebe Measure and other relevant Church legislation, with a view to bringing forward at the earliest possible opportunity any amendments needed to enable diocesan bodies and PCCs lawfully to dispose of land on terms which give proper weight to environmental considerations as well as financial ones, and so enable the Church to give a stronger moral lead in achieving Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives in cutting carbon emissions.

After debate this motion was defeated. 83 members voted for the motion and 98 against. There were 18 recorded abstentions.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 13 February 2009 at 5:00pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
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