Lack of support and respect for asylum seekers is shocking, says Bishop of Ripon & Leeds
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said today that he had been shocked by the lack of support and respect shown in this country to those who had fled in terror from their own, and had arrived in the UK looking for sanctuary and help.
Bishop John was speaking at the launch of a report from a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People.
He added that an increasing proportion of those seeking asylum in this country are fleeing from religious persecution and that the increasing abuse of blasphemy laws around the world was part of the problem.
The Inquiry, led by Sarah Teather MP and supported by the Children's Society, looked at how asylum seeking children and families are supported by the Home Office.The Report reveals that alarmingly low levels of asylum support are forcing thousands of children and their families seeking safety in the UK into severe poverty, putting babies' and mothers' lives at risk.
"Those seeking asylum in our country are coming here because they are scared. I was frankly shocked at the some of the stories we picked up in our report with witnesses telling us how officials would just let themselves into asylum seekers accommodation. On one occasion a child was downstairs in his home and was absolutely petrified," he said and called on churches to take a lead in raising awareness of the issue.
Among its recommendations the report urges the Government to:
- Make sure asylum support for all children is in line with mainstream benefits
- Abolish the cashless support system ('Section 4') immediately
- Allow parents to work so they can provide for their families and prevent them from being pushed into destitution.
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