Church urges UK Government to give sanctuary to Afghan refugees

The Church is urging the UK Government to take urgent action to establish safe routes to resettlement for Afghans seeking refuge.

Aghanistan children
Critics say the settlement scheme does not go far enough

Lord Wallace. Moderator of the General Assembly, spoke out as MPs prepare to discuss the situation in Afghanistan this morning.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is opening the debate in the House of Commons following the recall of parliament in light of a mass exodus of people after the Taliban took control of the country.

Lord Wallace said: "The General Assembly has taken a keen interest in developments in Afghanistan since 2002 and it is with great sadness and horror that we are watching this humanitarian crisis unfold.

"We stand in prayer and solidarity with all those who fear oppression and violence which puts the lives of millions of people at risk and displaces thousands.

"The Bible makes it clear that we must care for and support those who are oppressed and seeking sanctuary. We urge the UK Government to take immediately all possible action to protect those lives and the dignity of endangered Afghan people.

"Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a deliverance calling for the development of safe and legal routes for people desperately seeking sanctuary so that they can travel, live, work and contribute to our society.

"We urge the UK Government to establish an extended resettlement programme and end attempts to return people who have been refused asylum to Afghanistan. We must allow more people to make use of family reunion rights so they can join their relatives who have settled in the UK.

"The government should also ensure that Afghans will not be penalised for seeking refuge in the UK via ‘irregular routes' which is being proposed under the Nationality and Borders Bill."

Lord Wallace Moderator
Lord Wallace

Lord Wallace is encouraging people to sign an online petition calling for the urgent resettlement of 20,000 Afghans.

Despite the government's initial commitment to resettle 20,000 Afghans ‘in the coming years' the Church says it is important to call for a more generous response and firm commitment.

He is also inviting them to join senior church leaders in prayer and lament on Thursday and raise their voices in hope for people in Afghanistan who face an anxious future: