23 October 2020

Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Methodist Gathering

Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Methodist Gathering - 15 October 2020

In recent weeks, we have all been shocked and saddened by images of the fire at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, the continuing tensions in Calais, The English Channel and Dover and the blocking of the Sea Watch Rescue Ship in the Mediterranean between Libya, Italy and Malta.
 
We therefore held a Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers Gathering over Zoom on Thursday 15 October so that we could all share our concerns over recent developments, discuss our experiences in supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK and explore what actions we might individually and collectively take to ameliorate the situation.
 
We will be publishing the video of the presentations, the comments made by participants in the breakouts and a note of campaigning priorities in due course.

It was brilliant to have Fiona Kendall, European and Legal Affairs Advisor with Mediterranean Hope joining us from Rome. Fiona described the spectrum of work with which Mediterranean Hope are engaged, talked about the current challenges in relation to Lebanon and Libya and explained the exciting proposal for European Humanitarian Corridors. Please see Fiona`s blog for more information 

Simeon Mitchell, Steve Tinning and Hannah Brown gave an excellent presentation from the Joint Public Issues Team covering Hostile Environment, Lift the Ban, Detention, Safe Passage  and direct provision.

It was wonderful to have an update from Brussels from Shari Brown of the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe and she referred to some forthcoming events which are set out on the document here.

The Advocacy statement on situation of migrants and refugees in Europe published by the World Council of Churches on 22 September 2020 reminds us that Churches and international church-based organizations reaffirm their commitment to a compassionate response to people on the move. We call for adequate support both for people on the move and for their host communities. We appeal for an EU Pact on asylum and migration that respects relevant commitments under international law, the Global Compacts on Refugees and for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the EU’s core values of respect for human dignity and rights, and of effective solidarity among EU members.  
 
The full statement, to which the World Methodist Council is a signatory, is here. 

The Gathering on 15 October committed itself to Compassion and Campaigning, expressed an intention to regroup together before Christmas and to continue to find ways to keep the issues discussed on our Church`s agenda locally and nationally. If you would like to comment on anything mentioned here or find out how you can be involved in future Gatherings please contact Rev. Ian Rutherford on ianr7@hotmail.co.uk

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