Archbishop speaks in House of Lords debate on Syrian refugees

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke in the House of Lords on 7 Sept 2015 in response to the Prime Minister’s statement on Syrian refugees and counter-terrorism.

“I welcome warmly this start in the response of domestic hospitality, which comes in addition to the very considerable work that we have done overseas through the overseas aid budget and the work of the Royal Navy. And it is on this basis, challenged by this, that churches – starting this morning – are working very urgently to add to what they’ve been doing lately, to work together to achieve and support a coherent, compassionate and credible public policy. I have spoken today to Cardinal Vincent Nichols on this.

“Does the Noble Lady accept, however, that 20,000 is still a very slim response in comparison to the figures given by the UNHCR and the European Commission, and to the other needs we see; and that it is likely that it is going to have to rise over the next five years, unless of course the driver – which, I hope she also accepts, is local conditions in the camps – is dealt with significantly?

“And does she accept that within the camps there is significant intimidation and radicalisation, and many particularly of the Christian population who have been forced to flee are unable to be in the camps? What is the Government’s policy of reaching out to those who are not actually in the camps?

“Finally does she accept that regardless of our membership of Schengen, a problem of this scale can only morally and credibly be dealt with by widespread European collaboration?”

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