UK faith leaders urge action to end statelessness

A UK specific #LockedinLimbo campaign statement has been backed by 110 religious and faith leaders including the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Convener/President of the Muslim Council of Scotland, Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Bharti Tailor, Vice-President of Religions for Peace UK, the Rev Lorraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference and Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Chair of the Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Conference.

Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim representatives have supported the statement, a full list of which can be found here.

The #LockedinLimbo statement urges the UK Government to do more to welcome those who no longer have a country to call their home.

The move comes during Interfaith Week (12-19 November) which seeks to build on the good relationships and partnerships between people of very diverse faiths and beliefs.

All have a shared commitment to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity.

The statement is calling for action on part of the UK Government to review its policies towards stateless people as many end up in prolonged and pointless detention while the Home Office tries to remove them from the UK.

‘Stateless’ people without legal status cannot leave the UK because no country will accept them. But without status, they don’t have permission to work in the UK and remain vulnerable to destitution, exploitation and detention.

Signatories are calling for alternatives to detention and better support for access to rights and advice and help with integration.

The move is part of the #LockedInLimbo campaign which is led by the European Network on Statelessness and seeks to end the detention of people who end up locked in limbo simply because they have no country that they can return to.

Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:

“I am pleased to support this statement as a sign of my support for global efforts to contribute to ending statelessness.

“Churches have a vital and significant role in offering a message of hope and peace to the world.  It is good to see so many people wanting to engage with the issues and take action.

“The role of the World Council of Churches  in  advocating for the rights of stateless people has been particularly important in helping to focus attention on this issue.”

David Bradwell, Co-ordinator of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees added:

“When it comes to matters of human dignity and human rights, there should be no acceptance of a situation which leaves people in unfair and unequal situations.

“This is so obviously a question of morality and ethics, and how human societies interact with one another, that it is important that faith and religious leaders, along with all people of good will, speak up and make the case for policy-makers to prioritise the welfare of people who face marginalisation and exclusion.

“The multi-faith collaboration on this statement is a remarkable demonstration that there is a strong shared commitment to the common good.”