#LOCKEDINLIMBO – UK faith leaders urge government to end detention of stateless people

An estimated 10 million people worldwide are stateless, which means that according to the 1954 Statelessness Convention they are “not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. Citizenship has often been described as the ‘right to have rights’. Statelessness, in turn, is a corrosive condition that impacts almost every aspect of daily life.

The use of immigration detention and the criminalisation of irregular migration is increasing across many parts of Europe. Stateless people are particularly vulnerable to arbitrary detention, including here in the UK. Some face indefinite detention because there is no country to which they can be returned but equally no prospect of regularisation in the country hosting them.

All our faiths compel us to affirm the dignity of all human beings and to offer help to anyone in need. The best of this country is represented by the generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency that the United Kingdom has at many times shown those who need our protection, even at times of far greater deprivation and difficulty than the present day.

There is strong multi faith support from local, regional and national religious leaders which demonstrates a shared commitment to the welfare of the most marginalised and a degree of moral and ethical urgency to this issue.

We therefore urge the UK government to do more to welcome stateless people and in particular to adhere to five key principles:

  1. Implement a range of alternatives to detention to ensure that stateless people do not end up locked in limbo simply because they have no country to which they can return.
  2. Ensure early identification where a person lacks a nationality, and guarantee that detainees have full access to the UK’s statelessness determination procedure.
  3. Carry out an individual vulnerability assessment as part of every decision to detain.
  4. Facilitate integration in the community by regularising stateless people and granting them a residence permit and facilitated access to naturalisation.
  5. Improve monitoring and data collection on statelessness as in order to effectively address the problem it needs to be properly understood.
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  • Dr Muhammad Adrees MD-MRCPI-FRCPath, Convenor/President, Muslim Council of Scotland
  • Omar Afzal, Head of Communications & Executive Board Member, Muslim Council of Scotland
  • Revd David Archer, Pastor of Alnwick Baptist Church
  • Fred Ashmore, Clerk London, Quakers
  • Revd Professor David Atkinson, Associate Minister SEC Donside Group of Churches Convenor SEC Church in Society Committee, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Jill Baker, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, Methodist Church
  • Revd Peter Barber, Methodist Chair of District for Chester & Stoke-on-Trent, Methodist Church
  • Very Revd Dr Russell Barr, Minister at Cramond Kirk, Edinburgh and former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
  • Deacon Melanie Beaven, Circuit Minister, Methodist Church
  • Revd Sarah Bingham, Minister, Green Lane Baptist Church Walsall, Baptists Together
  • Very Revd Albert Bogle, Pioneer Minister of Sanctuary First, Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
  • Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts, Darlington Hebrew Congregation, Honorary Research Fellow in Anthropology, Durham University, Research Fellow, Leo Baeck College Darlington Hebrew Congregation
  • Revd Jean Boyd, Minister of Drumoak-Durris Church, Church of Scotland
  • Nick Bradshaw, Regional Minister Team Leader, South Wales Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • David Bradwell, Co-ordinator, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees
  • Fr Chris Brannan LL.B, Parish Priest, St Columba’s Diocese of Aberdeen
  • Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Mission), United Reformed Church
  • Rt Revd Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly Church of Scotland
  • Rabbi Janet Burden, Rabbi of Ealing Liberal Synagogue
  • Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Durham Diocese
  • Revd Stella Campbell, Parish Minister, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dr John Claydon, Regional Minister (Pastoral), Northern Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Mr John Collings, Lay Preacher, United Reformed Church
  • Revd Nigel Cowgill, Chair of District for the Methodist Church – London Methodist Church
  • Revd Margaret Crawshaw, Methodist minister, Methodist Church
  • Revd James  Davies, Chair of Trustees International Care Network, Bournemouth
  • Revd Shuna Dicks, Parish Minister – Aberlour Parish, Church of Scotland
  • Dr Robert Ellis, Principal, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford
  • Revd Mike Fegredo, Regional Minister, East Midland Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Revd Ruth Gee, Chair of the Darlington District, Methodist Church
  • Revd Ian Y Gilmour, Parish minister, Edinburgh: St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church of Scotland
  • Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, Chairman and founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum
  • Revd Simon Goddard, Regional Minister, Eastern Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Chair, Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Conference, Senior Rabbi, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
  • Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary Baptist Union of Great Britain, Baptists Together
  • Ms Shirley Grieve, Secretary for Church of Scotland’s Priority Areas, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dr Alan J Hamilton, Killermont Parish Church, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dan Harper, Parish Minister at Bridge of Allan Parish Church, Church of Scotland
  • Revd E S Hartley, Minister Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dr J Mary Henderson, Minister of Falkirk: Laurieston linked with Redding & Westquarter Parish Churches Church of Scotland
  • Revd Brian C. Hilsey, Minister, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Kevin Hooke, Superintendent Minister, Teignbridge Methodist Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Fleur Houston, United Reformed Church and Churches Refugee Network
  • Revd Ian Howarth, Chair, Birmingham Methodist District, Methodist Church
  • Revd Howard Hudson, Minister, Bridgeton, St. Francis-in-the-East Church of Scotland
  • Revd Bill Hunter, Minister, Howe of Fife Parish, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dr Noel Irwin, Tutor in Public Theology and Church Related Community Work Northern College: United Reformed and Congregational
  • Revd Stuart Irvin, Parish Minister: St. Catherine’s Argyle, Church of Scotland
  • The Very Revd Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, London St Paul’s Cathedral, Diocese of London
  • Revd Phil Jackson, Methodist Minister, Methodist Church
  • Revd Martin Johnstone, Church of Scotland minister, Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council and Acting Secretary of the Mission & Discipleship Council
  • Revd Elisabeth Jordan, Associate Pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Baptists Together
  • Revd Phil Jump, Regional Minister, North Western Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Revd Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptists Together
  • Revd Dr Wendy Kilworth-Mason, Superintendent Minister, Whitehaven Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Kate Konrad, Minister, Plymouth & Devonport Methodist Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Kathleen LaCamera Loughlin, Mental Health Chaplain at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Methodist Minister in the Bramhall and Wythenshawe Circuit
  • Revd Mark J Lawrence, Presbyter, Ivybridge, Bittaford & Yealmpton Methodist Churches
  • Revd Kate Le Sueur, Lead Chaplain (South) at Manchester University Hospitals NHS FT Methodist Church
  • Dr (retired) Lois Lodge, Skipton Quaker meeting
  • Revd Sarah Lowe, Presbyter Methodist Church
  • Revd Mike Lowe, Communications Enabler Baptists Together
  • Revd Dr Andrew J. Lunn, District Chair of Manchester and Stockport District Methodist Church
  • Miss Ann Lyall DCS, Interim Deacon, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Joan Lyon, Priest, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Revd Christina MacDonald, Minister, Methodist Church
  • Revd Hector I Mackenzie, Pastor and Teacher of the Mission Church, Old Aberdeen Mission Church
  • Revd Dr Roderick A R MacLeod, Minister, Strath & Sleat, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Paul Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale Methodist District
  • Revd David R Mayne, Moderator, Baptist Union Council, Lead Pastor, Shoeburyness & Thorpe Bay Baptist Church
  • Revd Dr Clare McBeath, Co-Principal of Northern Baptist College
  • Revd Gregor McIntyre, Minister of Faifley Parish, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Marjory McPherson, Edinburgh Presbytery Clerk, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Scott McRoberts, Minister, Inverness: St. Columba New Charge, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Julia Meason, Minister, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Loraine N Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference
  • Revd Dr Leslie Milton, Minister, Cambuslang Parish Church, South Lanarkshire, Church of Scotland
  • Revd John Morton, Cumbria Methodist District, Methodist Church
  • Dharmacharini Munisha, Member of the Triratna Buddhist Order
  • Revd Christine Murdoch, Minister of Craigrownie, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Ian Parker, Minister, Lamplugh, Kirkland and Ennerdale Local Ecumenical Parish, Methodist Church
  • Revd Rachel Parkinson, Chair of Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District, Methodist Church
  • Revd Lyn Peden, Minister, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Dr David Pickering, Moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland
  • Revd Linda Pollock, Minister of Word and Sacrament, Church of Scotland
  • Tim Presswood, Transitional Regional Minister, North Western Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Revd Ellen Price, Regional Minister, East Midlands Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Revd Marc Prowe, Parish minster in Auchtertool Kirk with Linktown Church of Scotland, Kirkcaldy
  • Revd Stephen Radford, Superintendent Methodist minister at Kirkby Stephen Appleby and Tebay Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Graham Ransom B.D. B.Sc, Superintendent Minister, South Lakes Methodist Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Lord Roger Roberts, Lord Roberts of Llandudno The Liberal Democrats
  • Revd Dr Kenneth R. Ross, Parish Minister, Netherlorn, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Susan Rowe, Presbyter, Methodist Church
  • Revd Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, Whitelands College, Roehampton University Whitelands College, Roehampton University
  • Revd Anikó Schütz​ Bradwell, Minister of Humbie l/w Yester, Bolton and Saltoun, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Roy Searle, Northumbria Community and Baptist Union of Great Britain, Baptists Together
  • Revd George Shand, Parish Minsiter, Tinto Parishes and Deputy Presbytery Clerk, Lanark Presbytery,  Church of Scotland
  • Revd Rd Norman Shanks, Church of Scotland minister, former Leader of the Iona Community, former member of WCC Central Committee
  • Councillor Nilofar Siddiqi, Labour Councillor, Gorton North
  • Revd Fiona Smith, Minister, Ness Bank Church, Church of Scotland
  • Professor Paul Spicker, Chair Tayside and Fife, Jewish Community
  • Bharti Tailor, VP Religions for Peace UK
  • Revd Mary Taylor, Regional Minister, Yorkshire Baptist Association, Baptists Together
  • Revd Richard Jeremy Teal, Chair of the Cumbria  District, Methodist Church
  • Revd Graham Thompson, District Chair, Plymouth & Exeter District, Methodist Church
  • Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby, Diocese of York
  • Revd Sally Thornton, Minister Whitefield Methodist Church, Bury Circuit Methodist Church
  • Revd Catherine Wagstaff, Minister, Teignbridge Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Philip Wallace, Minister, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Hugh Wallace, Newhills Parish Church, Aberdeen, and Convener of the Church & Society Committee of Aberdeen Presbytery Church & Society Committee of Aberdeen Presbytery, Church of Scotland
  • Andrew Waugh, Senior Pastor, Stockton Baptist Church, Baptists Together
  • Revd Dr Caroline Wickens, Superintendent Minister, The Manchester Circuit, Methodist Church
  • Revd Dr Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Wales Synod, Methodist Church
  • Dr Rowan Williams, Master Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • Revd Martin Williams, Minister Without Appointment in the South West Cumbria United Area, Methodist Church
  • Rt Revd (Bishop) Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, Canterbury Diocese
  • Jamie Wrench, Co- Clerk, Ludlow Quaker Meeting
  • Revd John N Young, Minister, Liberton Kirk, Edinburgh, Church of Scotland
  • Revd Michaela Youngson, President Designate, Methodist Church