Summary of Principles

24 principles guiding our response to migrants and refugees.

Love the Stranger

Our response to migrants and refugees is rooted in the innate worth of each human person

Recognising the universal destination of goods, we must not exclude others from having the means to flourish simply because of where they were born

Nationalist or individualistic tendencies should not be allowed to take hold and prevent us seeing humanity as a single family

We recognise the right of all people to flourish in their homeland; every nation has a duty to uphold this by working for peace, promoting good governance and tackling the causes of poverty

We ask our own government to help other countries address the factors that drive people from their homelands, including through the provision of a just aid budget, control of the arms trade, promotion of human rights and action to tackle the climate emergency

We affirm the responsibility of the Church and civil society to help people in their homelands, including through the work of organisations such as CAFOD, Missio, Pax Christi, and Aid to the Church in Need

We uphold the right to migrate, which may be exercised not only by those fleeing threats to their safety but also by those seeking to build a better life for themselves and their families

We recognise that states have a right to control their borders; however, such measures cannot be based on economic factors alone; states have a responsibility to promote the common good of the people within their boundaries, but they also have obligations to the wider world

We encourage the extension of safe routes such as resettlement programmes, visa schemes and humanitarian corridors, so that people can exercise their right to migrate in a dignified and humane manner

We must not allow the concerns that some communities might have about migration to be exploited for political purposes or allow such concerns to develop into a xenophobic attitude; Christian communities must play their part in providing a genuine welcome to migrants and refugees

We seek and promote dialogue with the local Church in people’s countries of origin, and the countries through which they have travelled, so that we can better understand their stories

We defend the fundamental human dignity of all migrants and refugees, regardless of their legal status, including through policies providing access to decent accommodation, healthcare, and childhood education, as well as facilitating family reunification

We call for the sanctity of life to be prioritised in all border security arrangements and reject measures that place people in danger or deny reasonable assistance to those in need

We call upon the government to avoid the use of immigration detention, arbitrary expulsion and other practices which violate human dignity

We urge the fulfilment of obligations under international frameworks protecting migrants and refugees, such as the Refugee Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Global Compact on Refugees, and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Recognising the practical contribution that our Church can make, we support the work of Catholic organisations such as Caritas, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the St Vincent De Paul Society, as well as parish and diocesan initiatives, in upholding the human dignity of migrants and refugees

Reaffirming the Church’s responsibility to help eliminate the evils of trafficking and slavery, we support the work of Catholic organisations such as the Santa Marta Group

We recognise that trafficking and slavery are exacerbated by a lack of accessible alternatives for migration or seeking sanctuary – efforts to tackle trafficking and slavery must therefore go beyond more active law enforcement; we also need to support people to flourish in their homelands, establish more safe routes for migrants and refugees, and work to eliminate the demand for those services that slave labour continues to meet

Migration enriches our culture – we must welcome migrants and refugees so that they can live fulfilled lives in their new country

We support the simplification of routes to citizenship and opportunities for people to regularise their immigration status

We celebrate the vital contribution of migrants and refugees to our parishes and the life of the Church in England and Wales

We recognise the gifts that migrants and refugees bring which can enrich our society in many ways, including economically

We encourage policies that give migrants and refugees the right to work, to facilitate their contribution to the common good of our society

We call upon all those who employ migrants and refugees to treat them in a dignified and humane way


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