Government response to those crossing the Channel 'deeply troubling'

By agency reporter
January 4, 2019

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS UK)  says it is "is deeply troubled by the Government’s comments and response to those individuals crossing the English Channel to reach the UK in search of safety and security." 

JRS UK notes that when Home Secretary Sajid Javid spoke to reporters during a visit to Dover he said, “if you do somehow make it to the UK, we [the UK Government] will do everything we can to make sure that you are often not successful [in your asylum claim].”

In response Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK, said: “The comments made by the Home Secretary today amount to the government pre-judging an individual’s claim for sanctuary, something to which every individual has a legal right. This is likely to have disturbing implications for the fairness and credibility of the UK asylum determination system as a whole.

“Somewhere in all this we seem to have forgotten that those men women and children making the treacherous journey across the Channel are our fellow human beings who are in need of our care, support and compassion.

“It is especially disappointing to see a Home Secretary, who initially expressed high ideals about changing the culture of the Home Office, resort so quickly to the standard fare of inflammatory rhetoric that stokes fears and prejudices and results in a system which views all migrants with the hermeneutic of suspicion.

“A person’s asylum application must always be assessed and determined on its individual merit, regardless of how the individual arrived in the country not be pre-determined ahead of their claim being heard, as implied by Mr Javid.”

Referring to Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Peace on 2 January 2019, titled Good politics is at the service of peace, Sarah Teather continued, “The tendency of senior politicians to whip up mistrust against the small number of men, women and children seeking sanctuary in the UK is a long-running story that predates the current Home Secretary. The Pope’s essay on politics should be essential reading for anyone serious about changing the culture and approach.”

* Read the message from Pope Francis, Good politics is at the service of peace here

* Jesuit Refugee Service UK https://www.jrsuk.net/

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