Thinking Anglicans

Refugees are humans

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, has written an article: Bishop of Manchester: I want leaders who look on migrants with compassion.

Refugees do not come to sponge off our benefits system, but because they have been driven from their homes by conflict and persecution

Briefly, last week, migration got a face, a human face. It’s not usually handled like that across much of the UK media, but the tragic plight of desperate families drowning in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean into Europe forced us out of our comfortable discourse about an amorphous “them”.

Migrants, we saw, are real human beings, not the “cockroaches” that one columnist had described them as only a few days earlier. Hundreds have died already this year in the effort to cross from north Africa.

Save the Children, one of Britain’s most reputable charities, estimates 2,500 children could lose their lives along the Mediterranean refugee route in 2015.

The asylum seekers washing up, sometimes all too literally, on Europe’s shores, are not driven to put their lives, and their families’ lives, on the line because they’ve heard that the UK has a generous benefits system. They take appalling risks.

They trust themselves and whatever little money they can scrape together to people smugglers and to overcrowded boats, because life at home has become desperate. They are pushed, not pulled, towards the EU, forced out of their homelands by war, terrorism and the persecution of minorities….

There is also a news article about this, Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars.

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9 years ago

This is a fine article by David Walker concerning the worldwide issue of asylum seekers. The Australian government (of both major political persuasions) has shown a distinctive heartlessness towards those seeking shelter. Only the Greens Party in our country has anything like a compassionate stance on this issue but unfortunately attracts only a small percentage of voters. I call it Australia’s ‘siege mentality’. People look at the relatively high youth unemployment rate, the lack of affordable housing in most major cities and other domestic issues and focus on those. Governments need to be encouraged to work together for a solution.… Read more »

Una Kroll
9 years ago

Thank goodness Bishop David has said it as it is. The number of refugees our country is willing to accept from Syria and Eritrea is pathetic because of their fear that it may put off voters. Our government’s financial help to the rescue attempts has been outstripped by donations from ordinary people in this country and that says something really good about British compassion and generosity.

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