Refugee Situation: Calais and beyond

The current refugee situation, witnessed across the media in the last few weeks, is one that often makes us feel helpless and leaves us with more questions than answers.

The good news, however, is that there are things that we can do. Regular, frequent prayer, whether alone, with friends, in home groups and within the prayers at services is a good start. To make the prayer focused, there are some useful links at the end of this article, to help you learn up-to-date facts and circumstances.

But what other action can we join with the prayer? CitizensUK, which helps communities work together for social action and justice, suggests three ways:

  1. Offer to help a refugee find a safe home. In this area, this is achievable by finding out about the independent support offered and seeing what the particular needs of that group may be. GARAS is our nearest in Gloucestershire, but there are others – such as Refugee Action – which help you to take action to support refugees. GARAS has been regularly updating its blog to ensure all the latest information is available; it can be found at www.garas.org.uk/latest.aspx.

  2. We can visit or write to our local council, asking them to resettle 50 refugees. The costs of the scheme do not fall on the council; it is funded by the UK Government and the EU. Council housing will not be used.

  3. We can ask our MPs to help increase the UK resettlement quota: 3.2 million refugees need help from all countries, and this does not include the 5.7 million people in Syria and Iraq who have been displaced by the wars within their own countries. The UN urgently needs the rest of the world to resettle the 320,000 most vulnerable Syrian refugees.

The Church Urban Fund suggests ways that we can give time, money, action and prayer for people in every community; through their Together Network (a network of people in every town and city), they are holding a conference on Asylum Seekers and the Church. Freedom from Torture also does a vital job with those refugees who arrive in the UK deeply traumatised.

Whatever we do, we need to ensure that we provide all that we are able to do – individually and as a Church – to give to our brothers and sisters, who are too often seen as less than human but who are humans like us all, made in the image of Christ.

Useful Links:

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