05 September 2015
Quakers urgently call for safe paths for refugees
The unfolding crisis of refugees fleeing across Europe, has prompted Quakers in Britain to urge the UK Government and other European Governments to create secure paths to safety.
Quakers’ representative body meeting in London on Saturday (05 September) made this statement:
“That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right” (A Quaker statement in 1822).
“Quakers in Britain urge the UK Government to welcome those desperately seeking a place of safety, in Europe, from the dangers in their own countries. In this urgent situation it cannot be right to harden hearts against people who are struggling and dying on European soil and in the seas around us.
“In Britain we have a tradition of sheltering those in danger, as we did with the Kindertransport, rescuing thousands of children from Nazi-occupied Europe so many years ago, and more recently, when we welcomed refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosova. It is time to open our hearts and communities again.
“This exceptional time of need calls for a proportionate response from all the governments of Europe working together. We call for mechanisms to be created that will enable people to travel safely and to secure legal protection – including in Britain.
“Refugees are fleeing from fear. Further violent interventions in countries such as Syria will not provide a solution. Difficult but compassionate decisions need to be made to secure peace for people in these regions.
“Quakers assert that all human life is precious – each person is a child of God and the loss of one diminishes us all. In this severe crisis, we hear the Spirit calling us to throw ourselves into the fray with all the love and courage we can muster.”
Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) and Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) have previously called for safe paths to legal protection and protested against the cessation of funding for the Search and Rescue Operation in the Mediterranean.
Notes to editors
· Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
· Around 22,000 people attend 480 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.
· “That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right” is taken from Quaker Faith and Practice 23.26
· Read more on QARN here www.qarn.org.uk
· Read more on QCEA here https://www.qcea.org/ including the paper “Recommendations for the development of safe and legal paths to protection in the European Union”