Bishop: Refugee policy must prioritise human dignity

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Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has made a statement supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments in The Times and reiterates that we need a more effective and humane asylum system:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments in The Times embody our belief as Christians, that all human persons are made in the image and likeness of God. As such, refugee policy must prioritise the dignity of everyone who is driven from their homeland. The current system, under which people risk their lives making dangerous journeys and languish for months or years waiting for their claims to be heard, fails to do this.

“Extending safe routes for people to reach the UK, tackling the backlog of asylum claims so that they receive a fair and timely hearing, and cooperating with other nations to collectively fulfil our obligations under the Refugee Convention, are all necessary steps towards a more humane and effective system. At the same time, it is essential to avoid practices that violate people’s dignity, such as immigration detention, in particular rejecting any return to the routine detention of children. 

“Archbishop Welby’s call to support international development also echoes the message of Pope Francis, ahead of this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, reminding us that have a responsibility to help others flourish in their homelands and work with the international community to overcome challenges such as conflict and poverty that force people to flee in search of a better life.”


The Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments were published in the digital version of The Times on Tuesday, 23 May 2023, 10:30pm. Registration required to read in full.

Love the Stranger

The Catholic response to migrants and refugees can be read in a 2023 publication that contains 24 guiding principles that place the human being at the heart of our pastoral outreach, looking beyond statistics and policies to the person – each with a name, a face and a story. Read more.