Bishop of Durham asks Government about delays in reuniting migrant and refugee families

On Wednesday 17th January 2018 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty’s Government “what, if any, support they are providing to the government of Greece, the UNHCR or Greek or international non-governmental organisations to help meet the challenges of winter for migrants and refugees in hotspots in the Greek islands.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, what steps are being taken to pressure the EU to accelerate family reunification processes? Our colleagues in the Anglican communion in Europe have noted that applications made for family members in Greece to come to this country are currently taking well over a year and that the processes have, sadly, slowed in the past 18 months.

Lord Bates: I am sorry to hear that. Our records show that some 24,000 people have come to this country through the Dublin regulations. That is an important part of the facility. However I say to the right reverend Prelate that we are talking about tens of thousands of refugees. Let us not forget that there are 13.1 million people in Syria who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, 5.4 million refugees from Syria still in the region and 6.1 million internally displaced people. That is why we are one of the largest donors, donating £2.46 billion, to those people in need. We need to keep both sets of people in our mind.