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 strengthens ties with Lithuania in combatting human traffickingCardinal Vincent strengthens ties with Lithuania in combatting human trafficking

    In his role as President of the Santa Marta Group, Cardinal Vincent was invited to address the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) and meet with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis to strengthen the links with Lithuania and encourage their commitment to ...

    more
  • Jubilarians Mass

    Cardinal Vincent held a special Mass for all of the Jubilarians within the Diocese, at the Chapel in Archbishop House on 14th June, in thanksgiving for the milestone completed in service of the Lord and the community at large. Seven Jubilarians, a...

    more
  • Praying for Grenfell: 'We are made to pray'

    ‘We human beings are made to pray. Otherwise we become dislocated,’ were the words of Cardinal Vincent. To respond to this natural instinct to come together to pray with others in times of grief and crisis, a time of Adoration before the Bless...

    more