Archbishop of Wales blasts policy towards refugees
Dec 18 2008 by David Williamson, Western Mail
ARCHBISHOP of Wales Barry Morgan last night warned that the nation would be
judged by its attitude to the poorest members of society.
He said he was alarmed at the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers in
Wales who are in abject poverty. The Anglican leader is concerned by the effects
of 2002 legislation, which withdrew social support for rejected asylum seekers.
Tomorrow, the Welsh Refugee Council will relaunch its hardship fund to
provide blankets for newborn babies, a winter coat for a newly-arrived refugee,
and food parcels for destitute families.
Nearly half (47%) of all people using the UK’s main refugee advice
services this year were destitute – of these 56% were from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea
Questioning whether it was realistic to expect people to return to
countries defined by danger, Dr Morgan said: “Very often their countries are
unsafe and unstable. Are you going to send people back to Zimbabwe or the
Describing his shock at learning of the Congo’s mortality rate, he
said: “I heard 20% of children under five die either as a result of disease or
war, but the thing is there is a child at the heart of Christmas. God reveals
himself as a child.” Dr Morgan said that in the Christmas story Jesus was
revealed as the child of refugees.
He believes the Nativity story should inspire society to protect the
most vulnerable children.
He said: “It is interesting. According to the Christmas story Jesus was a kind of refugee, having to flee to Egypt.
“If you believe that God reveals himself in Jesus then he reveals
himself as a refugee and he reveals himself as a child. What does that tell you
about the value of a child?”
Adamant such modern-day families should not live in destitution, he
said: “A country is ultimately judged by what it does with its poorest people.”
The policy of cutting off support to failed asylum seekers who could
not return to their home nation and banning them from working was earlier this
month condemned in a report from a think-tank founded by former Conservative
leader Iain Duncan Smith.
At least 26,000 failed asylum seekers in the UK survive on Red Cross
For more information about the Welsh Refugee Council’s hardship fund, click