International Refugee Day

20 June 2016

International Refugee Day 2016 – a joint statement from Scotland’s faith communities

20 June is International Refugee Day.

As representatives of faith traditions and organisations assisting faith communities in the struggle against poverty we share an imperative to offer compassion and justice to those who are afraid and oppressed.  We are saddened that there are those who would tear down bridges in place of strengthening human relationships and we pray for the healing of the scars which trouble the world.

We believe in the importance of citizens playing an active and constructive role in society, contributing to the common good, and in the name of our common humanity we believe in the obligation on those who have the power and ability to help those in desperate need.

On International Refugee Day 2016 we offer our solidarity to those seeking sanctuary, and we encourage and commend faith communities who work with refugees to provide hospitality and to seek to build mutual understanding.

We urge the UK Government to adopt and develop its refugee and asylum policies based on hope and protection for the most vulnerable.  We further call on the UK to take a fairer proportion of refugees wherever there is human need, and to develop safe and legal routes to the UK for those fleeing terror and war.

We ask the Scottish Government and local authorities to continue to do everything in their power to offer protection to as many refugees as possible, providing support to help them integrate, and empowering local communities to welcome their new neighbours.

The mass displacement of people is the reality of the world today, and will continue for many years to come.  As faith communities, aware of our own histories and grateful to live in relative safety and prosperity, our concern and generosity should be demonstrated through both prayer and action, so that we build on the work already happening in many parts of Scotland in order to make a real difference, and where we partner with all people of good will who have expressed their concern and generosity over recent months.

Rev Prof David Atkinson, Convener of the Church in Society Committee
The Scottish Episcopal Church

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly
The Church of Scotland

Salah Beltagui, Director
Muslim Council of Scotland

Ephraim Borowski, Director
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

David Bradwell, Co-ordinator
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees

Ian Buchanan, Convener of the Church and Society Committee
The United Free Church of Scotland

Martin Burnell, Clerk: General Meeting for Scotland
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Rev Dr David Easton, Chair
Methodist Church in Scotland

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council
The Church of Scotland

Honor Hania, Chair of the National Justice and Peace Commission
Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Dr Maureen Sier, Director
Interfaith Scotland

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