Human dignity of refugees must be respected during the pandemic

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Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for migration and asylum, has joined over 20 front-line facing organisations working with asylum seekers, refugees, and those with irregular immigration status in calling for a grant of a period of ‘leave to remain’ to those with insecure immigration status.

Bishop said:

“I fully support the Jesuit Refugee Service and other charities in calling for a grant of leave to all with insecure immigration status during the current pandemic.

“One’s human dignity is the primary issue. In this crisis respect for human dignity demands that everyone without exception is given the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to receive medical treatment if necessary.

“We are constantly implored to protect ourselves and others for the Common Good of society. Those without permanent status should be given the opportunity and means to do so, to social distance, to self isolate, to access healthcare and so lessen the possibility of jeopardising public health.

“We have seen elsewhere how a grant of leave can protect those who are vulnerable and limit the spread of the pandemic. I sincerely hope our own government will consider taking the recommended steps in response to the extraordinary circumstances we face.”