Bishop John speaks out against the Government's cruel Illegal Migration Bill

First published on: 30th June 2023

Bishop John Perumbalath, the Bishop of Liverpool has spoken out against the Migration Bill. In a statement released today in partnership with campaigning organisation Freedom from Torture the bishop said:-

“As a person of faith, I believe deeply in a fair and effective asylum system that welcomes those who need sanctuary, respects their dignity and embodies both compassion and justice. It is not only our moral duty to advocate for the most vulnerable in our society, it is an act of fellowship reflecting our shared humanity. 

Instead of protecting refugees, the Government's Illegal Migration Bill, ‘cash for humans’ Rwanda scheme and deliberate use of inhospitable housing puts them directly in harm's way. This is morally unacceptable and will have a devastating impact on people who have come to this country in search of safety. Housing refugees, including survivors of torture and trauma, on barges, in hotels and on former military bases is cruel, and there is no room for these anti-refugee policies in a compassionate and rights-respecting society. 

These heartless policies will fail on all counts: desperate people will still travel by whatever means they can to find safety but instead of a warm welcome, they will find hostility. The Government’s approach will only create more hardship in our communities, with increasing numbers of refugees living in limbo or in the shadows, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, too afraid to seek assistance for fear of detention or removal back to the persecution they fled. As noted by Freedom from Torture, the policies also risk torture survivors being returned to the very torturers from whom they fled.  

Our faith teaches us that human dignity must be upheld and protected at all costs. But whichever cultural or religious background belong to, we all deserve to live in peace and to be treated with compassion. For this aspiration to mean anything we must demonstrate it to others and offer a life raft to those in peril.  

I stand in solidarity with refugees and call on the Government to abandon the politics of hate and instead rebuild a humane and efficient asylum system that enables refugees to heal in the safety of our communities.”

Bishop John Perumbalath is Chair of Churches Refugee Network for Britain and Ireland

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