Church calls for end to asylum detentions

The MethodistConference has called for a simplification of applicationprocedures, a scrapping of the voucher system and an end to thedetention of those seeking asylum in Britain.

In a motion todaypassed overwhelmingly by the Conference meeting in Ipswich, theChurch has sent a strong signal to the Government that there isconsiderable unhappiness about the way that the asylum issue isbeing tackled at the highest level.

The full text ofthe Notice of Motion reads:

This Conferenceexpresses the continuing concern of the Methodist Church over thelack of dignity and respect accorded to those seeking asylum in theUK. We believe their treatment does not reflect the PrimeMinister's often-expressed belief that all are of equal worth.Therefore, the conference urges Her Majesty'sGovernment:

  1. to take a morewelcoming attitude to asylum-seekers and to educate the public totake a similar attitude;

  2. to end detentionfor those who have committed no crime;

  3. to simplify theasylum application form and to extend the time for forms to becompleted from 14 days;

  4. to provide a moresensitive and supportive system of dispersal;

  5. to end the systemof vouchers immediately and return to cash benefitsystem;

  6. where asylumapplications are refused to develop a supportive system forvoluntary return.

The Conferenceinstructs the Connexional Team to forward this Notice of Motion tothe new Home Secretary at the earliest opportunity and, with ourecumenical partners, seek an early meeting to press theseviews.

The MethodistConference 2001 takes place at Ipswich Town Hall from 23-29June.