Bishop of Durham says UK asylum policy should be based on compassion not fear

Durham040219On 16th July 2019 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports that children have been separated from their parents in migrant detention camps on the United States border with Mexico, and whether the human rights of migrants have been violated in those camps”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: Last week the six Texan bishops of the Episcopal Church on the border with Mexico wrote a letter stating:

“We call on our state and national leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets people who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live and work in peace”.

Does the Minister agree with their view, and that we too need to ensure that our policy-making towards asylum seekers and refugees must be based never on fear but on humane, compassionate grounds? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham says UK asylum policy should be based on compassion not fear”

Bishop of Durham on need to welcome refugee children on 80th anniversary of Kindertransport

durham-230117-bOn 26th November 2018 Lord Dubs led a short debate on the motion: ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the decision to allow Kindertransport children to come to the United Kingdom.’ The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, for securing this debate and for all he does as the living embodiment in this House of the Kindertransport legacy. It was also my privilege to be present at the event at the Friends’ meeting house a couple of weeks ago, which was deeply inspiring.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham on need to welcome refugee children on 80th anniversary of Kindertransport”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about alternatives to prison detention in immigration removals

On the 15th May 2018 Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government an urgent (private notice) question, “what measures are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of asylum seekers during periods of detention in the prison system and during their removal from the United Kingdom”. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question about alternatives to detention:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, would the Minister agree that this case supports why we need to develop alternatives to detention as a matter of priority? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about alternatives to prison detention in immigration removals”

Bishop of Durham receives response to written questions on accommodation for asylum seekers

durham-230117-bOn 12th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received responses to two written questions on accommodation for asylum seekers in the UK:

(i) Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many bedrooms in accommodation allocated to asylum seekers in (1) the North East of England, and (2) Yorkshire, under Home Office COMPASS contracts, are shared by two or more unrelated individuals; and what proportion of the total number of bedrooms available in those areas that figure represents.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham receives response to written questions on accommodation for asylum seekers”

Bishop of St Albans asks government about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

St Albans 2On 5th February 2018, Lord Roberts asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they intend to ensure that every failed asylum seeker, and anyone facing removal from the United Kingdom for whatever reason, has access to adequate legal advice.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Children’s Society shows that unaccompanied and separated children are particularly vulnerable. Only 12 grants for exceptional case funding were made in 2015-16, fewer than 1% of the expected number of cases under the previous system. Hundreds of children are being left without a legal safety net. Can the Minister confirm that the situation of these children will be specifically considered within the review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks government about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children”

Bishop of Durham asks about impact on vulnerable of changes to NHS charging rules

On 2nd November 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question about the impact of changes to NHS charging on refused asylum seekers, trafficking victims, the homeless and those with mental health problems: 

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of changes to NHS charging regulations on refused asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups, including (1) victims of trafficking, (2) homeless people, and (3) those living with mental health conditions. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about impact on vulnerable of changes to NHS charging rules”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about religious literacy of asylum caseworkers

stalbans190117-bOn 9th February 2017 Lord Singh of Wimbledon asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to combat religious extremism and to promote a cohesive society by enhancing religious literacy at all levels of government.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Aolan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, just three weeks ago I spent half a day in an immigration removal centre and so gained an up-to-date insight into some of the complex and sensitive issues that are being dealt with there. Concerns continue to be raised about the level of religious literacy among some of the asylum caseworkers. Is the Minister content with the level of training that they are getting in religious literacy and, if not, what can be done to improve it? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about religious literacy of asylum caseworkers”