Catholic Church supports Safe Passage campaign
The Bishops’ Conference Justice and Peace Commission is calling on Christians across Scotland to message their MPs ahead of Tuesdays’ (12th June) planned debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill. One of the 15 amendments to the legislation proposed by the House of Lords comes from Lord Dubs seeking to maintain the right for children seeking refugee protection in Europe to safely join their family in Britain, maintaining the agreement known as Dublin III after the UK leaves the European Union.
Danny Sweeney (Justice and Peace Scotland’s Co-ordinator) has said “We know that Brexit is a complex, and for many people a very divisive subject, but compassion is not. The Dublin III regulations allow those who have a right to be with their families to join them in the UK. The alternative is to force them into the hands of smugglers who exploit them, traffickers who trap them in modern slavery, or to risk their lives attempting to cross the border. A few weeks after I visited Calais with Bishop Nolan we heard about the case of Abdullah Dilsouz, a 15 year old boy with a legal right to be reunited with his family in the UK, who instead died under the wheels of a lorry on 22nd December last year. Two years ago the campaign supporting Brexit spoke about “taking back control”; well we need to control what kind of country we want to be when it comes to our response to those who are displaced and seeking sanctuary, and in this case we need our MPs to represent our views.”
The government has scheduled only one day of debate for the 15 amendments to the legislation, a move criticised by opposition parties in Westminster.
The call to MPs, organised by Safe Passage, is asking them to attend the debate and vote to keep Lord Dubs’ amendment as “this Bill will determine the kind of society we want to be after Brexit. With your support, we can ensure that Britain is a welcoming country to refugees and does not close down their legal routes to safety.”
Honor Hania, Chair of the Justice and Peace Commission, commented; “Pope Francis has called on the Church to respond with mercy to the plight of migrants and refugees, and there is so much good work done here in Scotland to welcome those in need. In his recent exhortation to the Church Gaudete et Exultet Pope Francis has reaffirmed that our commitment to life at all stages must be “clear, firm and passionate for at stake is the dignity of a human life”. The Church must always be on the side of the vulnerable and voiceless be they unborn or enslaved; here are no ‘lesser’ issues for Christians when it comes to our defence of life. Safe Passage’s work to provide legal routes for sanctuary is one part of the picture of support that so many people are contributing to in Calais, Dunkirk and other places across Europe, and the world. We can’t all go to help feed and clothe those young people with our own hands, but everyone has a MP, who ultimately should answer to their electorate and we can ask that they keep Lord Dubs’ amendment in the EU Withdrawal Bill to stop anymore needless deaths at our border.”
Click this link to contact your MP via the Safe Passage website.