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03 September 2015

Archbishop condemns refugee crisis as "wicked"

Archbishop condemns refugee crisis as "wicked"

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the refugee crisis facing Europe and the Middle East as “wicked”.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the situation “underlines our human frailty and the fragility of our political systems”.

In a statement released today, the Archbishop said: “My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution.”

Christians are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves, he added, to seek the peace and justice of our God, he added.

“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly”

But Archbishop Justin is encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs.

He concluded: “We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion.

“But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response – which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help.”

Christian Aid has today criticised the lack of sympathy in the UK and Europe, describing the language used by many towards those fleeing conflict, injustice and oppression as “deplorable”.

In a statement, the charity said: “Today we support those affected by war and violence in numerous countries, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia, providing practical assistance through local organisations embedded in their communities.

“Through their aid budgets, the UK and other governments are also contributing significantly to help refugees and the displaced in various parts of the world.

“But the need to address the root causes of refugee flows and the migration of the desperate- conflicts, inequality and the impacts of climate change, to name but three – has never been greater.”

Christian Aid urged governments to play a full and constructive role in efforts to fine safe routes, and provide adequate support for refugees.

They also appealed for obligations to be met in “respecting [refugees] universal rights and demonstrating care and compassion rather than just being driven by alarmist headlines at home.”