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Church Leaders Attack 'Hostile Environment' Government Policies

                                                                                                                           Thursday August 9 2018

THE Church of Scotland has joined 19 other church leaders from across the UK in urging the Home Secretary to put an end to the so-called ‘hostile environment’ of policies forcing some destitute people to leave the UK.

 

In a strongly-worded open letter to Sajid Javid, signed by leaders including the Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church’s Church and Society Council,  they argue that destitution deliberately inflicted by the UK Government is 'inhumane' and leads to racial discrimination. 

 

The ‘hostile environment’ is defined as the web of government policies designed to make life so difficult for people who cannot prove they have the right to live in the UK that they will choose to leave.

 

The letter states: “People who do not look or sound ‘British’ are now facing increased difficulty in finding homes and employment, because landlords and employers are being asked to play the role of border guards.”

 

The leaders, including representatives from the Anglican, Catholic, Methodist Churches, have asked the Home Secretary “to seize this opportunity and adopt an approach to immigration that treats every individual, whatever their status, with humanity, dignity, respect and fairness.”

 

The letter adds: “As Christians we assert the importance of offering welcome to the stranger and caring for the vulnerable, whoever they are. 

 

“Many of our churches support those who have suffered hardship because of the hostile environment.”

Is it any wonder that Churches are speaking out about immigration policy? “

In Glasgow, up to 300 asylum seekers who have had their right to remain turned down are under threat of eviction from their homes. 

Once evicted they will lose the right to housing and will be faced with homelessness and destitution. 

Housing charity Shelter Scotland has filed papers at Glasgow Sheriff Court to prevent two tenants being issued with so-called lock-change orders.

The issue will also be raised in the Court of Session in Edinburgh after a case was lodged by Govan Law Centre, which is also trying to prevent the evictions by Serco.

Dr Frazer said: “The Church of Scotland is deeply, deeply concerned at plans to evict up to 300 asylum seekers from their homes in Glasgow.

“Many of those facing eviction have already needed to flee their homes in the past from appalling violence, terror and war. 

“It is unacceptable that this should be happening.”


Comments

Rev Dr John Cameron - Saturday, August 11th, 2018

“If the churches want to defend refugees in these dark times, they must ditch some of their self-defeating prejudices. The first is the nonsense that there’s no difference between refugees and economic migrants. The fact is asylum seekers make less than 8% per cent of the total number of immigrants arriving in the UK.

They also need to stop treating the government and anyone who disagrees as if they were closet Nazis. To state that our 'inhumane and racist' government deliberately creates a ‘hostile environment’ and "a web of policies designed to force refugees to leave" makes them sound like no-platforming student dogmatists.


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