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26 July 2019

Over 100 Faith Leaders Call on PM Boris Johnson To Make A Lasting Commitment To Welcome Refugees

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

26th July 2019

Dear Prime Minister,

As you will be aware, on 17 June 2019 the Home Secretary announced that the UK will welcome up to 5,000 refugees in 2020-2021, following the expiration of the current resettlement programmes. Thousands more refugees will have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety in the UK, a country with a long history of offering sanctuary to those in need.

This is a welcome development and one on which the government should be congratulated. In particular, the decision to broaden the geographical focus of resettlement beyond the Middle East and North Africa will enable the UK to respond to where there is the greatest need globally, which we hope will offer a lifeline to unaccompanied children currently surviving in camps and on the streets in Europe.

Ambitious and effective programmes for resettlement to the UK offer a life-saving alternative to incredibly dangerous journeys in the hands of smugglers or traffickers. This country should be proud to give people a route to safety that stops them risking their lives in overcrowded dinghies, or in wheel arches, or in refrigerated lorries.

Thus, we are writing to ask for your assurance that as Prime Minister you will ensure this recent announcement is not a one-off, but rather the start of a lasting commitment by the UK to welcome its share of people seeking sanctuary globally.

We believe that the UK can and must resettle more refugees. The Refugee Council, British Red Cross and others recently called for resettlement to be expanded to at least 10,000 refugees each year. Meanwhile Safe Passage International have been campaigning for the UK to welcome at least 1,000 children annually from Europe and conflict zones, and have already secured pledges from local authorities amounting to nearly 1,300 places if the government makes a commitment to child refugees.

10,000 people a year, including at least 1,000 vulnerable and unaccompanied children from conflict zones and Europe. As one of the world’s richest countries, seeking to build and demonstrate global cooperation and goodwill, this is a small ask of the UK.

To put this into perspective: in 2017 just 0.02% of the world’s displaced people were refugees in the UK. In that same year nearly 31,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe and the government agreed to resettle 480 – or 1.5% – of those children. In the first 2 years of the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme, just 20 unaccompanied children were brought to the UK. We can do better.

Today, there are families living in refugee camps who may be there for generations. There are people in conflict zones whose lives are in constant danger. There are children surviving in carparks and on the side of motorways in Europe; preyed on by traffickers and others who seek to do them harm. These are people who deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and to become part of British society, like so many refugees have before them.

The success of existing UK resettlement programmes, community sponsorship and the pledges by local authorities to take more children demonstrates that communities up and down the country are open to welcoming refugees. We urge you to celebrate these achievements and establish a truly world-leading resettlement commitment.

Refugee resettlement programmes can flourish when there is political will and may flounder if that will is lacking. As our new Prime Minister, we ask you to show the compassionate leadership this issue deserves.

Yours faithfully,

The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury
Mr Sakkeer Ahamed, Chairman, Wiltshire Islamic Cultural centre
The Rt Revd Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Manchester Reform Synagogue
The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE, Bishop of Bedford
Ms Christine Bainbridge, Thaxted Quakers Area Meeting
Dr Tirupattur Mohamed Basheer, Chairman, Dorchester Islamic Centre
The Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal OBE, Former President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Rebecca Birk, The Finchley Progresive Synagogue
Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts
David Bradwell, Co-ordinator, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees
The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
Rosie Budd, Quakers in Kent
The Rt Revd Sarah Bullock, Bishop of Shrewsbury
The Revd David Butterworth MA, Methodist Church Minister, Birmingham District Officer
The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon
Major Nick Coke, Refugee Response Co-ordinator, The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland
Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelsmford
Claire Crowley, Ecumenical Officer for Churches Together South London
Sheikh Imtiyaz Damiel, CEO & Founder of Abu Hanifah Foundation
Rabbi Janet Darley, Liberal Judaism
The Most Revd John D E Davies, Archbishop of Wales, Archesgob Cymru
Malcom M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
The Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich
The Revd Duncan Dormor, General Secretary, United Society Partners in the Gospel
The Revd Clare Downing, United Reformed Church, Wessex Synod Moderator
Bishop Philip Egan, Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth
Rabbi Warren Elf MBE, Director, Faith Network for Manchester
The Revd Jacky Embrey, Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s Mersey Synod
Derek Estill, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
The Revd Steve Faber, Moderator, West Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church
The Rt Revd Colin Fletecher, Bishop of Dorchester
The Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener, Church and Society Council, The Church of Scotland
Rabbi Paul Freedman, Senior Rabbi, Radlett Reform Synagogue
Rabbi Helen Freeman
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
The Revd Nicola Furley-Smith, Secretary for Ministries, United Reformed Church
Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE
Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, New London Synagogue (Masorti)
The Rt Revd Karan Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne
The Revd Gary Gotham, Chair of Wiltshire United Area (Methodist and United Reformed Churches)
The Venerable Olivia Graham, Archdeacon of Berkshire
The Rt Revd Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton
Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, Director, Council of Christians and Jews
The Venerable John Hawkins, Archdeacon of Hampstead
The Revd John Hellyer, District Chair, The Methodist Church South East District
The Rt Revd Peter Hill, Bishop of Barking
Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton, Leo Baeck College
The Rt Revd John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
The Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, Diocesan Bishop, Diocese in Europe
The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield
Shazuli Iqbal, Trustee, Wiltshire Racial Equality Council
The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
Rabbi Richard Jacobi
Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue
Tess James, Area Quaker Meeting Clerk, Doreset and South Wiltshire
Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Movement for Reform Judaism
The Rt Revd Andy John, Bishop of Bangor
Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principal, Leo Baeck College
Rajnish Kashyap MCICM, General Secretary/Director, Hindu Council UK
Dr Ed Kessler, Founder and Director of the Woolf Institute
Harun Rashid Khan, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain
Jason Kilburn Evans, Quaker Chaplain
The Revd Juliet Kilpin, Avenue Baptist Church
Dr Martin Kunz FRSA, Quaker
Rabbi Sandra Kviat, Communities Partnership Rabbi, Liberal Judaism
Anthea Lee, Stansted Quakers
Prof Clive Marsh, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi David Mason, Executive Member Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue
Rabbi Monique Mayer, Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation
Sara Jane Mitchell, Stansted Quakers
Rabbi David Mitchell, West London Synagogue
Susan Moloney, Stansted Quakers
The Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI, Founder and Director, Faith Matters
Munisha, Member of the Triratna Buddist Order
The Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, Emeritus Rabbi Finchley Reform Synagogue
The Revd Dr Colin Norris – Regional Minister/Team Leader, Southern Counties Baptist Association
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain
Gill Parker, Saffron Walden Quakers
The Rt Revd Dr Joanna Penberthy, Bishop of the Diocese of St Davids in the Church in Wales
Rabbi René Pfertzel, Kingston Liberal Synagogue
Imam Razawi, Chief Imam of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism
Oliver Robertson, Head of Work and Witness, Quaker Peace & Social Witness
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, ex-Chair, Assembly of Rabbis
Greg Rubins, Chair, Bournemouth Jewish Representative Council
Ms Farzana Saker, Chair of West Wiltshire Interfaith Forum
Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky, Chair, Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors UK
Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, West London Synagogue
Jasvir Singh OBE, Founding Chair, City Sikhs
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
The Most Revd Dr Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Revd Dr C. A. Strine, Senior Lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern History & Literature, Sheffield University
The Rt Revd John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick
Rabbi Larry Tabick
Rabbi Jackie Tabick
Rabbi Roni Tabick, New Stoke Newington Shul
The Revd Kerry Tankard, Chair of the Methodist Church, Yorkshire West
The Revd Richard J Teal, Chair of the Cumbria Methodist District and President designate of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Daniela Thau
The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue
The Revd Steve Tinning, Baptist Minister at Leigh Road Baptist Church
The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington
The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Rabbi Kath Vardi, North West Surrey Synagogue
Brigid Vousden, Saffron Walden Quakers
The Revd Simon Walkling, Moderator of the United Redformed Church, National Synod of Wales
The Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference 2016/17
The Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church
Cannon John Webb, Dean of Dorset
Bernard Wilston, Canterbury Society of Friends (Quakers)
Janet Walston, Canterbury Society of Friends (Quakers)
The Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi at the New North London Synagogue
Reverend Canon Dr Andrew Wood, District Chair, The Methodist Church Southampton
Terry Wood, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Canterbury
Rabbi Alexandra Wright, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Community Educator Movement for Reform Judaism