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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Asylum seekers should be treated with dignity, says UK bishop

The Bishop for Migration and Asylum has called for asylum seekers crossing the English Channel to be treated with dignity and has spoken out against the dehumanising rhetoric that has characterised debate in recent weeks.

“All people fleeing their homes and seeking to build a better life here should be recognised as human beings and treated with dignity,” said Bishop Paul McAleenan.

“As the focus on refugees now turns towards the English Channel, we should keep in mind that our priority must always be saving lives and playing our part in offering sanctuary to those escaping war or persecution.

“Rhetoric and policies that dehumanise or stigmatise people only serve to fuel hostility and harm our society.”

Bishop McAleenan has previously called for the UK government to go further in assisting asylum seekers during a visit to Calais with his Scottish counterpart in 2017 and following the signing of the Sandhurst Treaty last year.

Picture: Members of the Kent Anti-Racism Network hold a vigil in Ramsgate to welcome refugees to Kent and say refugees are welcome amid the migrant crisis. (Gareth Fuller/PA).