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English, French Bishops Call for Better Treatment of Migrants

Bishops on both sides of the English Channel call for better treatment for migrants and refugees.

Anglican and Catholic bishops on both sides of the English Channel have renewed their plea for “better treatment” of all the vulnerable undocumented immigrants who entered France and are trying to reach Britain.

In a joint statement released on June 20, World Refugee Day, the six bishops reminded that these strangers “who are exiled from their homelands” are “fellow humans who deserve to be helped to find places where they can live in dignity and contribute to civil society.”

They added that they observe “with sadness the lack of hope that drives people in distress to become exploited by traffickers and add to the profits of their illegal trade.” (Read: Tearful Tagle Recalls His Grandfather’s Migration Story)

Support From Local Residents

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Bishop Paul McAleenan prays at the ‘migrants’ plaque in Dover (Photo from Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales)

The Church leaders also called to attention some positive signs amid the situation. (Read: 5 Catholic Saints Who Were Migrants Back in the Days)

“[We are] heartened by those who generously offer financial and material support, time and skills, shelter and accommodation, whatever their religious conviction,” they wrote.

These people, they said, “ignore the myths that lead to prejudice and fear that apparently prevent politicians from creating new and constructive policies that go beyond closing frontiers and employing more security staff.”

A Special Commitment

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Migrants sitting in an inflatable dinghy rescued by French coast guards while trying to cross the Channel between France and Britain (Photo from AFP Photo/Marine Nationale/Euronews)

On their part, the six bishops reaffirmed their commitment “to encourage residents to create a climate of welcome and understanding for strangers who share in the hopes and needs of all humanity.”

This follows after the June 19 rescue by French authorities, as about 80 migrants attempted to cross the Channel to reach the United Kingdom. Nearly 10,000 migrants have tried such an attempt in 2020, four times the number in 2019. (Read: ‘Refugees, Migrants Create Caring Communities’ – Tagle)

The Church of the coastal town of Calais, where many of these migrants concentrate on living in makeshift tent camps, has repeatedly denounced their plight calling for a solution to this humanitarian crisis.

 


Text by Lisa Zengarini of Vatican News.

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