Church leaders ask Home Secretary for end to hostile environment:
Joan Cook, President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, is one of twenty Church leaders who have called for an end to the hostile environment in an open letter to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP.
The hostile environment is the web of government policies designed to make life so difficult for people who cannot prove they have the right to live in the UK that they will choose to leave.
The leaders, including representatives from the Anglican, Catholic, Church of Scotland and Methodist Churches, argue that the destitution deliberately inflicted by the government is ‘inhumane’ and that it leads to racial discrimination. They ask Javid “to seize this opportunity and to adopt an approach to immigration that treats every individual, whatever their status, with humanity, dignity, respect and fairness.”
Is it any wonder that Churches are speaking out about immigration policy? In Glasgow up to 300 asylum seekers who have had their right to remain turned down are under threat of being evicted from their homes. Once evicted they will lose the right to housing and will be faced with homelessness and destitution. Housing charity Shelter Scotland has filed papers at Glasgow Sheriff Court to prevent two tenants being issued with so-called lock-change orders.
The issue will also be raised in the Court of Session in Edinburgh after a case was lodged by Govan Law Centre, which is also trying to prevent the evictions by Serco.
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: “The Church of Scotland is deeply, deeply concerned at plans to evict up to 300 asylum seekers from their homes in Glasgow… many of those facing eviction have already needed to flee their homes in the past from appalling violence, terror and war. It is unacceptable that this should be happening.”
The text of the open letter can be found here.