Baptists celebrate ground-breaking judgement as a simple act of humanity
Baptists were among those who celebrated a ground breaking order by a British court that three unaccompanied children and a dependant adult should be allowed to leave the refugee camp at Calais and join their loved ones in the UK.
One of the partners who brought the case to court was Citizens UK, an alliance of local citizens groups that recently formed a National Resettlement Council to co-ordinate local expressions of welcome for refugee families and to campaign for safe and legal routes of access to the UK.
Baptists Together have been part of the Resettlement Council since its inception in September 2015, largely in response to the actions and concerns of a growing number of local churches and activists.
General Secretary the Revd Lynn Green commented: “We recognise that the current situation is a complex and difficult one, and there will be a range of responses even across our Baptist movement. However it flies in the face of our Gospel values that while politicians struggle to find an answer to what has become a growing crisis, children and vulnerable adults should be left unaccompanied and separated from those who can support and care for them. This is a simple act of humanity that is the very least our nation can do.”
Many people in Calais are desperately trying to get to Britain in order to reunite with family members. Despite there being provision in EU regulations for this to happen safely and legally, in practice it has become virtually impossible.
George Gabriel, Citizens UK said: "We are delighted with the judgment and look forward to being able to see these families, who have been so cruelly separated by war; reunited and safe. This judgment highlights that there are safe, legal routes to reconnect families using current asylum regulations, and we hope will allow other families to be reunited.
"The judgment is also tinged with sadness. We know that Masud, who died just days before, aged 15, suffocated in the back of a lorry, trying to reach his sister here in the UK could also have been granted asylum using this safe route. Now government and the French authorities must act to ensure no more children are driven into the hands of people smugglers or become so desperate they take terrible risks to reach the safety of the UK.”