Methodist Church response to the Prime Minister's statements about foreign criminals

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for the Methodist Church hasexpressed concerns over Tony Blair's statements at Prime Minister'sQuestion Time regarding the deportation of foreign criminals:

"Whilst concern about crime should be taken seriously, we have amoral obligation not to send people back to regimes where they willsuffer gravely and could even face execution. We are seriouslyconcerned about the implications of Mr. Blair's comments for humanrights.

"Our criminal justice system sentences people according to theircrimes, not on the basis of nationality. We need a sense ofproportion and to look at each case individually - sending peopleback to unsafe situations would be disproportionate punishment inmost cases.

"News stories and political responses such as this one from thePrime Minister unfortunately spread the idea that immigrants cannotbe trusted - we have the opportunity and responsibility to take inpeople who need our help and to educate one another againstprejudice."