Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Calls for Refugees to Be Welcomed

Ahead of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees,
15 January, Cardinal Vincent continued his call for refugees from the Middle East to be welcomed and accommodated in this country.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been in regular contact with the government about developments in the region, including the resettlement of refugees from the region. Last year the first Syrian family to come to the UK under the community sponsorship scheme was welcomed in Salford Diocese, with further families expected to be welcomed into parishes around the country this year. Fears that not all of the most vulnerable refugees are able to access this relocation scheme are also regularly raised with the government.

The Cardinal’s spokesman said: ‘People in this country are generous to those in need and we now have a scheme that enables that generosity to be channelled effectively with the community sponsorship scheme. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has had an extremely productive dialogue on this issue and received firm reassurances from the government that Christians are accessing the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme in numbers broadly proportionate to the overall displaced population.

‘It is important that the government continues to push for peace in the region and once peace is secured, assistance is provided for the necessary rebuilding can take place. In the meantime all refugees should be offered assistance. It is clearly arbitrary to make a distinction between people fleeing from the fighting in Syria and people fleeing the fighting in Iraq, particularly as the UK government has recognised this is effectively the same conflict. The current approach means that many of the most vulnerable people, including Yezidi women and girls who have escaped from being held in sexual slavery by Daesh and cannot access appropriate support in the region, are excluded from this opportunity for resettlement abroad on the basis of their nationality.

‘We will of course continue to monitor the situation and engage with the government about issues that arise.’

Latest news
  • Cardinal Vincent prays for victims of Spain terrorist attacksCardinal Vincent prays for victims of Spain terrorist attacks

    Cardinal Vincent Nichols has condemned the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, and has offered prayers for the victims: ‘I am profoundly shocked and dismayed at the terrorist attacks targeting innocent people in the Ramblas area of Bar...

    more
  • Statement following the death of Charlie Gard

    On 28th July, Cardinal Vincent has issued this statement following the death of Charlie Gard:   ' I am deeply saddened by the news that little Charlie Gard has now died.   I offer my sincere and profound condolences to his parents who have tr...

    more
  • Mass of Welcome for Apostolic Nuncio

    On Tuesday, 4 His  Cardinal Vincent  was the principal celebrant, along with Cardinal Cormac over 20 Archbishops and Bishops from dioceses across England and Wales, the Metropolitan Chapter of Canons, and several priests.  At the beginnin...

    more